After months of fighting it, we've decided that co-sleeping overnight with our 6 month old makes everyone much happier and we all enjoy the snuggles all round! And, it completes our attachment parenting style.

During the day we try and get her to sleep in her cot for her naps, and at night she sleeps with us.

We've installed a guard rail to the side of our bed that she sleeps on - she can roll, but is not quite mobile yet. This works well for now, but what do we do when she starts crawling and can climb over things? We follow all the guidelines that I have posted in answer to this question, but how do I keep her safe when we're not in the bed? - she sleeps 12-14 hours overnight and obviously there are times when she is in the bed alone.

Putting our mattress on the floor is not an option (we have a 40cm thick 140kg king size latex mattress). Short of moving your baby into their cot when you leave the bed, What do other co-sleeping parents do to ensure the safety of their little one when they're not there?

asked 04 Jan '10, 05:15

Lin's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 04 Jan '10, 05:20

+1 Nice question, I need to check with my husband this evening because I honestly can't remember :) we used extra pillows I am sure and I just remember moving her to the centre of the bed, but thats about it!

(04 Jan '10, 12:16) Emi

+1 Great question! I'm interested to see what other people do for safety, as well. I'll put what we do in an answer below.

(04 Jan '10, 17:39) cat_g

I agree this is a great question. I've often thought about this at times when I've considered co-sleeping with our daughter for various reasons. I usually decide it's a bad idea because I want her to sleep longer then I do and know that when I wake up earlier to take a shower she will likely wake up as well.

(04 Jan '10, 20:35) Tammy ♦♦

We also co-sleep with our baby. Like you, I have installed a guard rail on my side of the bed and our baby sleeps between me and the guard rail. Our baby has his own crib in our room. At about 6pm I put him to bed for the night. I usually lay down with him in our bed until he falls asleep (or almost asleep) and then put him in his crib. I usually go to bed around 10 or 11pm and at that time my son often wants to nurse. So, I take him into bed with me at that time and we both go to sleep.

I do not feel comfortable leaving our baby in our bed in the room alone. He likes to roll over in his sleep and sometimes even tries to crawl in his sleep. Sometimes I do need to leave him for a few minutes (like when I go to the bathroom and my husband is not in bed yet). For these times, I usually tuck a blanket around him tightly so that it is difficult for him to roll/crawl/etc. Then, I put a pillow next to him as well. I make sure that the pillow is below his head so that if he does roll, he will not suffocate.

This solution is not perfect, but it seems to work for us for now. I've modified our strategy as our baby has grown and changed.


answered 04 Jan '10, 17:48

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

+1 for not leaving your baby alone for too long, and co sleeping pattern!

(05 Jan '10, 22:23) Emi

She's still too young, but I'd say as soon as possible teach her to get down safely from the bed on her own (on her tummy, feet first), because the risk of her coming off the bed in her sleep is far smaller than the risk of her waking up and trying to get down.

For us, it is guard rail, in the middle of the bed, and lots of pillows.


answered 07 Jan '10, 08:20

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

edited 07 Jan '10, 11:01

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

We co-sleep when it makes sense for nursing in the middle of the night, but try to avoid it otherwise.

I'm pretty paranoid about breathing issues and falling out of the bed. Comparing our bed to the baby's mattress I found that he falls more deeply into the padding, and we have larger and thicker blankets on the bed. Further, he rolls over in his sleep and sleeps on his tummy now, which increases the risk of suffocation.

For these two reasons we've always moved him to his crib if we are not in the room with him.

We've made the mistake of letting him remain in our bed with us out of the room when we thought he was too little to crawl. He ended up falling out, and was perfectly happy unless someone touched his right ankle. Assuming it was bruised (though seeing no evidence of bruising), we waited a day before going to the urgent care. They didn't think it was broken, but took an xray just in case, and it turned out to be a hairline fracture that went into, through, or near his growth plate:


He's doing well, no surgery was required, but we get to have xrays every 6 months to make sure the growth is going well and growth plate is working correctly. Just falling out of bed can result in minor or severe deformities, so while the risk is low, the cost can be very high. Our first set of follow up xrays is next month, so we'll know by then if the fracture healed well and whether the growth plate is working correctly. At this point we don't know, and there's no way to tell - it's just a waiting game, and this was from a fall of under 24 inches to padded carpet.

So while we still co-sleep, we are very strict about not letting him remain in the bed without us in the room as well. Imagine if the impact that caused a fracture in a fairly large bone in his leg was instead to his skull or spine.


answered 11 Feb '10, 14:35

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%


+1 for sharing your story. Hope all will be ok with your little one. Our daughter now crawls and is starting to climb over things. We know it's only a matter of time before she starts climbing over the pillow barricade we put up, so it's just not worth the chance. When we're not in the bed, I just (slowly and carefully) transfer her to her crib. Sometimes she wakes, but it's a small price to pay for what could potentially end up in a bad situation.

(12 Feb '10, 00:57) Lin

We let our baby just sleep in the middle of our king-size bed until she started to move a lot. After that we always temporarily moved her into her crib located in the same room. Sometimes she woke up when moving but most of the the time not.


answered 05 Jan '10, 19:34

twaltari's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

+1 for using mid section of bed and transfering back to own crib.

(05 Jan '10, 22:19) Emi

We had our cot jammed up next to the bed with one side off, the baby slept in the cot, but it was essentially an extension of our bed. Once he was big enough to climb about, he could, in theory, have tried to climb over the side of the cot, but it was much more obvious to crawl across the bed and then climb down. He was hardly likely to roll out that way though. I seem to remember putting cushions on the floor at the point he was most likely to try to get down, just in case, but I don't recall him ever actually having a problem.


answered 12 Feb '10, 18:27

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

As twaltari says, we let our 18m sleep between us if she wakes up in the night and comes into our room. Then it's a case of transferring her to her own bed, though she does wake up sometimes - simply repeat!


answered 05 Jan '10, 21:06

Lazlow's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

+1 for use of middle section of the bed and for transfering back to own bed.

(05 Jan '10, 22:17) Emi

I just saw this article for the baby bunk. it looks to be similar to some of the ad-hoc solutions described in other answers, but a bit more polished.

Baby bunk

The Baby Bunk latches onto your bed using two support arms that sit under the mattress and the boxspring, with two adjustable wooden legs providing support from the bottom. For futons and platform beds, optional lip clips and customized legs can also be ordered.


Available from Side By Side Sleeping, the Baby Bunk can be bought for $245 or rented for $40 a month.


answered 21 Feb '10, 14:47

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

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Asked: 04 Jan '10, 05:15

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Last updated: 21 Feb '10, 14:47