Is Co-Sleeping Safe? Studies Find Sleeping With Babies Increasing Despite Potential Risk

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The phrase "sleep like a baby" is common because, well, have you ever seen a baby sleep? They're so peaceful and angelic that it's hard to resist giving them a good snuggling, sometimes even all night long.

While the rate of SIDS deaths have decreased, other sleep-related deaths, such as suffocation, have increased. This has the National Institute of Health researchers trying to find out just what's happening to cause this increase.

Their findings? Co-sleeping. Despite warnings and recommendations against the practice, twice as many people are co-sleeping with their infants now than 20 years ago. 

Sudden Infant Death Sydrome, SIDS, is one of the leading causes of death among infants in the United States. Its causes aren't clear. Sleep positioning is a critical component and the American Academy of Pediatrics' "Back to Sleep" campaign has lowered the number of SIDS-related deaths significantly.

But it seems some parents still aren't getting the memo about what safe sleep for infants looks like.

The AAP encourages parents to share a room with their infant but not a bed. The practice of "side-car" sleeping is one of the most common and safest ways to co-sleep. The infant is nearby but not in bed with the parent or caregiver.

Co-sleeping with babies under 8 months old rose from 6.5 percent of the population in 1993 to 13.5 percent in 2010. Of that number, 85 percent of co-sleeping families had babies bed-sharing with at least one parent.

While bed-sharing occurs across all ethnic and racial groups, it rose most sharply among African-American and Hispanic families.

More than half of parents and caregivers surveyed for this and similar studies reported receiving no information at all from their pediatricians regarding safe sleep habits despite findings that advice from pediatricians and physicians being one of the leading deterrents of the practice.

Parents whose pediatricians seemed to condemn the practice were less likely to co-sleep.

What do you think, THGers? Is co-sleeping safe?

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My wife and I will cuddle with our little one, I will sleep with here when my wife takes our little guy to the bus, I work nights. I have Co-Slept with all my children and have never had a problem... A child is not like a pillow, you sense they are there, not once have I ever rolled over on a child, even when my wife puts our little girl in the bed, I'm sleeping I don't roll over on her its natural.

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I slept with my first baby and I sleep for a few hours a night with ny second baby, I don't sleep in bed with blankets and pillows I sleep on the couch proped up and my baby on her back on my chest, having a baby away from you in thier own room does not make a difference in my house, my first can sleep alone without problems.

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I am currently pregnant with my first and I will NOT co-sleep with my baby. I do not think cuddling and the convenience of having your infant right there is worth their life.
My husband and I are not even planning to do a bassinet in our room. We are starting baby off in his own crib. I have personally witnessed a friend of mine who co-sleeps and now that she has her 2nd son her 1st is having a very hard time adjusting to being put in his own bed and is making life much harder.
I completely agree with baby being in the parents room but not their bed.

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My nephew died of SIDS. He was sleeping with his mother at the time, she woke up and he wasn't breathing. Ever since then I vowed to never cosleep. Instead of sleeping with my son when he was born my husband and I kept a bassinet next to our bed and I would sleep with my hand in the bassinet holding his hand to keep him happy and sleeping. I was so terrified that the same thing would happen to him some nights I had a hard time sleeping.