Co Sleeping Safety Guidelines, with James McKenna, PhD

it's probably important to point out

that co-sleeping we know is biologically

appropriate and evolved now how its

specifically done is the big issue of

debate and there are safe ways to do it

and there are unsafe ways to do it but

we do know this that cross-culturally

those cultures for which co-sleeping is

the norm and we're associated with that

is a lack of maternal smoking and a lack

of drug use and/or alcohol during

co-sleeping those countries all over the

world have this have either the lowest

SIDS rates on record or the cultures

aren't even aware of such a phenomenon

of a supposedly healthy and fit not

waking up and dying during the night

it's just completely unknown in Asian

and Chinese countries in Japan that has

the norm of code sleeping you know on

futons etc have once again for an

industrialized society the lowest rates

measurable at all what that's telling us

is it isn't that there's an inherent

danger at all to sleeping with your baby

on the same surface but there are ways

that we can specifically learn as to how

to reduce the risks that could be

associated with it the problem with our

own culture at the moment is that all

ways to reduce and minimize risks of bed

sharing have been extracted from

hospital brochures and parents are not

being able to know that this is their

right to get that information I use as

an example of requirements related to

asking people to participate in your

research for a subject consent form and

it is by law necessary to state what the

benefits and the risks are of that

participation so all the information has

to be disclosed but medical authorities

in our own country including levels of

government organization County agencies

have decided that parents don't need to

know what in fact can reduce risks of

bed sharing they simply should not do it

I feel that's both unethical and that

taxpayer money deserves to be put in and

used to support what parents need and


they are the only individuals and the

only entity that has the right to make a

decision about where their baby is going

to sleep this is an inherent civil

liberty it is a right that every baby is

born with to have access to its mother's

body and it's right by every mother and

father to decide exactly in a relational

context where they want their baby to

sleep it's often influenced very greatly

by breastfeeding because breastfeeding

is so much easier and so easily managed

by mothers in terms of her and the baby

getting more sleep and her you know not

having to walk down the hall and resell

the baby has been so one of the

difficulties going on in our country is

a very negative image and presentation

of the bed sharing issue and

oversimplified one is being presented

when it's a complex issue bed sharing is

not a discrete little variable you know

either do it or you don't and it's all

the same you get the same function and

the same outcome you don't it depends

very specifically on the details of how

it's done for example I'm a mother that

smoked during our pregnancy has injured

its baby's brains to arouse that would

not be the baby to be put into a bed

sharing environment we already know that

other children in bed is a danger to

babies we know for example to putting a

baby prone in any and sleeping

environment is dangerous and puts the

baby at risk for SIDS we know that heavy

duvets is dangerous we know that gaps

between the headboard and the mattress

or having a light table to close and

creating gaps into which babies can fall

is dangerous and should be removed

we know this these are adverse factors

these are factors that enormous Lea

increase the threats of a baby dying or

something deleterious happen to him

during the bed sharing these aren't

imaginations these are practical simple

to understand issues that American

parents are not being told because

someone is making the decision for them

that they simply do not need

No and that is both unethical and

inappropriate and we need to be taking

our attention or giving our attention to

these issues and demanding from our

county agencies that this information be

revealed and be promoted because it's

going to save lie