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SAFE SLEEP: Room-sharing and bed-sharing. What’s the difference?


Babies love it when you hold them close. Parents feel most protective when baby is in their arms. When it’s naptime or bedtime most parents think about taking the baby into bed with them. This is known as bed-sharing. Parents are strongly encouraged, by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), to NOT share a bed with their baby.  You can fall asleep and roll over on baby. Baby can get tangled up in the covers. This can cause suffocation and death.

The AAP recommends room-sharing when it’s bedtime and/or naptime. Room-sharing is when your baby sleeps in his own bassinet or crib. That crib is placed somewhere in your room, often close to your bed. With your baby close by you’ll be at ease because you can see and hear him if he needs comforting. If your baby needs to be breastfed or soothed you can bring him into your bed, BUT put him back in his own bed before you fall asleep.

There are many ways to connect with your baby during the day when it’s safe. You can spend time holding your baby while relaxing in a rocking chair. You can play games and practice things like tummy time. You can breastfeed. You can just look into each other’s eyes for a while. Then, when it’s naptime or bedtime, put baby in their own, safe crib to sleep.

For more ways to be sure your baby is safe, read about our Four Rules of Safe Sleep.

© 2023. Delaware Division of Public Health.