The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends against bed sharing with an infant. Bed sharing is when someone sleeps on the same surface with a baby, such as a chair, sofa, or bed. Many parents do bed share for different reasons. Some parents do so on purpose and some do so on accident. The majority of infant sleep-related deaths in North Carolina are associated with bed sharing.
There is no 100% safe way to bed share, but there are issues that make bed sharing more dangerous. The below factors increase the risk of infant death when bed sharing.
- Was born premature (less than 37 weeks)
- Was born weighing less than 5lbs 8oz
- Is less than 4 months old
- Is formula fed (not breast fed)
- smokes or vapes (even if you do not smoke/vape in bed) or if mom used tobacco while pregnant
- has drunk any alcohol
- has taken any drug that can cause sleepiness (legal or illegal)
- has any condition which makes a person over tired or hard to wake up
- is not the baby’s parent
- has pillows/blankets/loose bedding, or a soft mattress (like memory foam or pillow top)
- is a couch or recliner
- has other people in the bed, including other children or pets
If you said yes, to any of these factors it is strongly suggested that you reconsider the practice of bed sharing to keep your baby safe. Instead, consider using a safety approved crib, bassinet, or pack-n-play in your room beside your bed or a safety approved bedside sleeper attached to your bed.
- On their back
- On a firm, flat surface
- In a smoke/vape free space
- With NO blankets, pillows, bumper pads, sleep positioners, stuffed animals or other items in the bed
- Ask others to help you keep your baby safe by asking them to move your baby back to their crib if you have fallen asleep while caring for your baby.
- When feeding or caring for your baby at night, set an alarm on your phone to wake you if you fall asleep so you can put the baby back in their crib.
- Never move to a couch or recliner to care for your baby at night because this is an especially dangerous place to fall asleep with your baby. Instead, care for your baby in your bed, but keep your bed clear of soft bedding and put your baby back in the crib after you finish feeding/caring for them.
- Ask someone to stay up with you while you care for your baby at night or stay up in shifts.
It is normal for babies to wake frequently at night. This can be challenging for parents and caregivers. Try to have a plan for how to make those long nights safer when caring for your baby.