When Co-Sleeping Should Be Treated as a Crime

police lightsFor some parents, co-sleeping is something that's decided either while mama is still pregnant or right after she gives birth. For others, co-sleeping is one of those things that just happens. Whether it's because it's the only way a child will sleep or a little one winds up crawling into bed with Mom and Dad every night, some parents don't have much of a say when it comes to bed-sharing. But regardless of the reasoning behind co-sleeping, there are safety precautions that always need to be in place when this happens. Because guess what? Co-sleeping, if not done properly, might not just be dangerous, it could be illegal soon.

After the 10th co-sleeping-related death happened on Friday in Milwaukee, the County Supervisor said that the parents of infants and toddlers who die while sleeping in bed with them should be put in jail. He feels that these deaths are more than a tragedy -- they should be treated as a crime.

The announcement came last week, after a toddler died co-sleeping with his mother. The boy had crawled into her bed after she was asleep, and she didn't feel him. And, when she woke, she found her son unresponsive, wedged between her and the wall. Could this have been prevented? Yes! Because later on, it was revealed that the mother allegedly was drinking margaritas and vodka, and smoking marijuana.

If a baby tragically dies sleeping in bed with his parents -- and no foul play or unsafe circumstances are found -- no, parents shouldn't be arrested, as babies sadly die of SIDS while they're alone in their crib. But if it's a case where the death could have been prevented -- i.e., drinking is involved, or a newborn was placed in a bed with older siblings -- I think the person responsible should absolutely be put in jail. This is a child's life we're talking about here. There should be no gray area whatsoever.

Do you think unsafe co-sleeping should be treated as a crime?


Image via Scott Davidson/Flickr



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D.j. Lord

we are the government and we are here to help...

Katha... Katharine205

Yes.  Study after study after study shows it's dangerous to sleep with your newborn/infant and yet you get moms (a significant amount of them are on the stir) who insist that experts don't know anything and they 'safely' co-sleep.  Some people think it's ok to have your baby in bed with you, some think car seats are optional, both should be punished when their baby is hurt or worse because of their pigheadedness. However if the child is old enough to crawl in bed with you - and you're not hopped up on drugs and alcohol which should have it's own separate charge - I don't see how that one is the parent's fault.

Jackie Bosarge Rudder

Katherine205-I share a bed with my baby and have since the day she was born. We both sleep great and she is never in danger. I have never come close to rolling on her. I also don't drink or do drugs. I use a carseat everytime that she's in the car. To say that co-sleeping is as bad as not using a carseat is ignorant. There is a such thing as safe bedsharing. and there are plenty of reports done that show that bedsharing if done safetly can reduce the risks of SIDS. Maybe do your research before calling all bedsharers pigheaded.


nonmember avatar terra

Until very recent history all babies co-slept, whole families co-slept. Big Brother should not be regulating where babies sleep.

Tracys2 Tracys2

What greater punishment can you give to such parents?

Would you treat it as a crime to have a stuffed animal or bumper in a crib? Or not have a fan running?

I just don't see how this would benefit anyone, child or adult. It would just cost a lot of money to prosecute and jail offenders. People would lie to their doctors and say they weren't doing it, and do it anyway. They wouldn't get info from their doctor on how to do things more safely, because they'd never admit to it, but they wouldn't stop, because "nobody will know and it's not their business".

lobus lobus

The toddler started off on the couch with a cousin.and then in bed with mom who had liquor and pot!!! These deaths almost always involve excessive amounts of alcohol and or drugs. Not the breastfeeding mom who safely cosleeps.

Katha... Katharine205

I didn't say it's as bad as not using a car seat, I said some people don't find them necessary and even though statistics show they are you can't convince these people otherwise.  It's like the vaccine debate, it doesn't matter how many mainstream studies that show that vaccine benefits out way the risks, you get these people who read a few crackpot studies on the internet and now they're experts.  Just like co-sleeping.  The AAP states that infants should be place on their backs in cribs to reduce SIDS rates, here's a clip fromt their actual website:

The current AAP guidelines for reducing the risk of SIDS recommend using a “separate but proximate sleeping environment” for infants.2 The AAP also notes that it is appropriate to take the infant to bed for nursing, comforting, and bonding but recommends that the infant should be returned to a separate crib or bassinet when the mother is ready to sleep.2

But you'll get people who Google it and find fringe websites that support what they want to believe and they use it to justify their position.  The fact of the matter is that your baby is safer sleeping in a crib or bassinette on it's back, not in your cushy bed where you or your partner could easily roll over in your sleep and suffocate him.  This is heavily supported with research done by real doctors and real professionals.

Caitlin Locke

Babies also die in their rock and play or crib. Maybe we should just put all parents in jail because we all do something wrong at some point. Jesus, go after the real criminals FFS!

Shandi80 Shandi80

So if the woman didn't have alcohol and marijuana in her system, and the same thing happenend, would that still be her fault?

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

To me the cosleeping argument is irrelevant.

Done with care to safety, it is extremely safe. Thats a fact.

We don't say; "another child dies of a car ride" "throw the parents in jail because they had the selfish nerve to drive on a highway with that poor child!!!!"

Negligence is a crime, why can't we leave it at that.

Clear cut case in my mind because drugs and/or alcohol was involved

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