Lullaby Trust Contradicts Years of Campaigning – Now Says Co-Sleeping Is Ok

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The move comes after the results of fresh studies

For years this leading charity has strictly warned parents NOT to co-sleep with their babies, after claiming it increases the risk of cot death.

The Lullaby Trust has now changed its advice to parents, following a 8,500-strong survey in which 76 per cent of parents confirmed they shared a bed with their newborn.

It now claims that co-sleeping is “very much a personal choice so we would just advise you to read all the information on safer co-sleeping so you can make an informed decision.”

The British charity, founded in 1971 to support bereaved families and raise awareness on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), have also released a YouTube video. It has been made for parents about safe co sleeping, in partnership with Public Health England.

Charity executives have claimed this new outlook is “to encourage an open discussion around the topic and help parents plan for safe ways of bed sharing to avoid it happening unintentionally.”

“Co-sleeping needs to be discussed with all families. We know from talking to parents that if they are told not to co-sleep they will then feel they cannot discuss what actually happens. As a result they will not get important advice on how to co-sleep more safely.”

Jenny Ward – Acting CEO of The Lullaby Trust

The survey revealed around 40 per cent of all those interviewed admitted to co sleeping in dangerous circumstances, such as on a sofa, having consumed alcohol, or as a smoker – which all increase the risk of SIDS.

In fact, co-sleeping on a sofa or armchair was the most prevalent risk, with 40 per cent of parents admitting to having done so and 25% having done so more than once.

The Lullaby Trust has collaborated with Public Health England, Unicef UK Baby Friendly and Basis to produce new guides for health professionals, as well as resources they can share with parents.
  • An adult falling asleep on a sofa or armchair with a baby increases the risk of SIDS by up to 50 times. 
  • Around 12 per cent of those surveyed smoke and share a bed with their baby. Parents that have done so after drinking alcohol sit at 9 per cent.
  • Studies have found bed-sharing with your baby after drinking alcohol, using drugs, or smoking puts your baby at a very high risk of SIDS. 
  • According to the latest available figures, around 133 babies die each year in co-sleeping situations, the majority of which will all be in high-risk circumstances.
  • In the survey 33 per cent of parents had shared a bed with their baby in an unplanned situation, meaning risk factors were present, such as loose adult bedding. 

Advice On Safer Co-Sleeping

  • Keep the space around your baby clear of pillows and duvets
  • Always sleep your baby on their back
  • Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed
  • Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or become trapped between the mattress and wall
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bed

You should never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair, remember this will increase the overall risk of SIDS by 50 times.

Remember NOT To Co-Sleep when:

  • Either you or anyone in the bed smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
  • Either you or anyone in the bed has recently drunk any alcohol
  • You or anyone in the bed has taken any drugs that make you feel sleepy
  • Your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or weighed under 2.5kg or 5½lbs when they were born

For more advice on safer sleep for your baby, download The Lullaby Trust’s free guide here. Or visit

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