Co-Sleeping debate: How safe is it?

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Supporters of co-sleeping say it can help both baby and mom sleep longer through the night and exhausted new moms don't have to put more strain on themselves to get up and breastfeed if their baby is already in their arms.

However, some experts say to stay away from co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against it saying the chance of rolling over on your little one or the baby falling between the wall and bed and suffocating is too big of a risk to take.

Sober mistakes happen, but drugs and alcohol can also play a factor in deaths related to co-sleeping.

"We don't want those moms sleeping with babies because they're just not with it enough to realize there's a baby laying next to them," Patty Kandiko, Bloomin' Babies Birth Center.

Between 2004 and 2013 the Mesa County Health Department reported 14 infants, less than one year old, died as a result of an unsafe sleep practice.

Kristy Emerson, with the Heath Department, said the best tips to follow to avoid an unfortunate situation are to always place babies on their backs to sleep, keep them in a crib next to your bed, make sure the baby is laying on a firm surface and take all toys and blankets out of their area to avoid suffocation.

While some babies may feel more comfortable sleeping on their stomachs, experts said laying them on their backs will prevent them from choking while asleep. Babies between three to four months should however have about 20 minutes of supervised tummy time while they're awake to strengthen their head, neck and shoulder muscles.


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