Ever since the SIDS and co-sleeping controversy arose over the last 30-or-so years, parents, medical experts, and researchers have been searching for the definitive answer of how to ensure that babies sleep safely.
As parents increasingly feared to sleep in bed with their babies, they first began to lay their small babies to sleep and ‘self-soothe’ in separate rooms, with only their crib decorations and a baby monitor for a company. This has since been found to dangerously hinder babies’ development – almost all child safety experts maintain that cribs should be kept in the parents’ bedroom, to alert them to any difficulties the baby might experience. It promotes healthy sleep for baby and parents, knowing that the other is not far away.
Still, simply having the baby in the same room isn’t enough for some parents. Co-sleeping in the same bed allows for easy and almost instant breastfeeding, minimizing sleeplessness due to getting up to feed a crying hungry baby multiple times each night. It also means that skin-to-skin contact can occur – a highly important aspect of the parent-baby bonding experience. It’s tempting to do, but the link to SIDS is too important to ignore.
In recent years, a solution has been developed as a safe middle-ground sleeping arrangement for parents and babies. Co-sleeper cots are three-walled bassinets that attach onto the side of the parents’ bed but maintains a separate sleeping surface between adults and babies. Babies sleep on a firm, safe mattress, away from the suffocation risk of adult bed clothing and overlying, and both parties benefit from the comfort of having each other at arm’s reach.
But – are co-sleeper cots really safe? In this article, we’ll investigate whether co-sleeper cots are the best solution to ease all parents’ worries about sleep safety for their babies.
How do co-sleeper cots prevent SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – the sudden death of an infant under one year of age – is a constant source of stress for parents. Also known as cot death or crib death, the condition has been linked to several risk factors including parental smoking, laying the baby to sleep on their stomach or side, overheating, and the biggest cause of panic – bed-sharing.
Squashy mattresses, heavy duvets, and thick pillows are all suffocation dangers to infants and have sadly caused the death of babies in the past. Exhausted parents have been known to fall into a deep sleep and not become alerted to their babies being caught up in bedclothes. Bed frames and lying on the baby are also risks involved in bed-sharing. It was concluded that babies should never be allowed to sleep in an adult bed – and much less on a sofa.
This is why co-sleeper cribs are safe. They remove all the risks associated with children sleeping in an adult bed by giving them their own baby-safe surface to sleep on. It has been declared by organizations like WHO and the NHS that babies should be laid to sleep on their backs, on a firm mattress, with no suffocation risks in their cribs (no blankets, pillows, toys, etc.) Co-sleeper cots allow this to happen within a confined attachment to the parental bed, which prevents the baby from coming into contact with anything which might increase the infant’s risk of SIDS.
Should I buy a co-sleeper cot for my baby?
Besides removing all risk factors of SIDS, they comfort parents and children by keeping the other close. Using a co-sleeper cot, you’re only an arm’s reach away from your baby during the entire night. It also has the huge benefit for breastfeeding mothers of not having to get out of bed to reach the baby every time he or she needs feeding, reducing sleep loss for mom, dad, and baby.
Ultimately, co-sleeper cots are, practically speaking, the best baby sleeping option around for all the reasons we’ve discussed. They are a brilliant option for the health and well-being of the whole family, they promote bonding, and they are devoid of all factors that are known to increase the risk of SIDS. Visit dedicated online stores or baby stores to find the best sleeping arrangement for you and your baby.