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For anyone who’s currently co-sleeping and looking for information on how to make it so that the baby doesn’t fall out of the bed when sleeping then this is the article for you.
This is not an article debating the safety and legitimacy of co-sleeping (there are plenty of other guides and debates online for that) but a guide for those who feel it is the best choice for them. As writers of this article, we ourselves have co-slept with our baby (and still do as a toddler) as one adult and two adults and are happy to say our baby never fell out due to some of the things we put in place.
For many parents, co-sleeping works best for everyone in the house for a variety of reasons. It allows cuddles and a feed to be given immediately when they wake up in the night which can soothe them back to sleep much easier and quicker than if they were in their own bed or in their own room. Breastfeeding mothers tend to co-sleep the most as night time feeds are frequent and to have to get out of bed every time is much more tiring than simply offering it to them there and then.
No one will say co-sleeping is easy, even if it can seem that way. Many sacrifices and changes still need to be made to make it work, not just with the mother.
But, the older the baby gets the more mobile they become and the more rolling they will do at night. Sadly, this can occasionally mean that they can roll out and fall out of bed which can cause injuries depending on the weight, angle and layout of the room. With that in mind, we’ve collated some tips and tricks we’ve used and some others that we’ve learned from other co-sleeping parents.
How to stop babies from falling out of bed when you co sleep
Baby/Toddler Bed Guards
By far the most effective way to keep your co-sleeping child whether it’s a baby or toddler from falling out of bed is with baby/toddler bed guards. We’ve reviewed the best toddler bed guards already and with one of these you won’t have to worry about a fall ever again. They’ve been designed specifically for this reason and as we’ve listed more than one kinds there is definitely one to suit any bed out there.
Bed bumpers are similar to bed guards, except they’re placed under the sheet at one side or both and offer a raised mound. When a baby or toddler rolls into one they are encouraged to gently roll back without waking up from their sleep. They are a little more expensive than bed guards and do decrease the overall space within the bed but can be a more gentle approach to prevent accidental falls during the night. They can even double as a comfy pillow.
Put one side of the bed next to a wall
With this trick, you won’t even need to spend a penny! Simply move one side of the bed against a wall and ensure that you sleep on the side where there is the drop. The downside of this, however, is that the baby could roll over into the wall which can still be an awkward bump and could wake them up. But, if you place some pillows and cushions up against the wall this softens the impact and may prevent them from waking up. This may only be useful for sleeping situations where only one parent co-sleeps as it could be too cramped down the other side.
A parent on either side
Another free solution which could be great depending on the size of the bed; is to sleep with a parent on either side to the child. This would mean the baby would roll into a parent rather than the great abyss by the side of the bed. For smaller beds, this may not be great and most definitely should never be done when any parent has taken strong medication or alcohol. We wouldn’t recommend doing this with a newborn but a toddler would be fine.
Invest in a bigger bed
This is easier said than done as beds aren’t cheap, but upgrading the size of the bed and therefore having more space can reduce the risk of your baby falling out of bed. But, there are also other benefits which are more room for you and your partner and you can also use bed bumpers and still have the same room as you had before. Going from a double to a king-size could mean that the other parent can now co-sleep and help to reduce the dependency on the one parent already in there.
How prevent injury if your baby falls out of bed when you co sleep
If you want to be as cautious as possible by following the above recommendations but also reduce the risk of injury in the unlikely event they still fall out of the bed then we’ve added some tricks here.
Cushions at the side of the bed
A simple solution to soften the blow is to put some cushions or pillow on the floor at the side of the bed. This will stop them from hitting a solid floor and risk an injury, but it won’t stop them from being startled awake by the fall.
Mattress on the floor
Sleeping with the mattress on the floor seems a little extreme, but it does bring the baby closer to the floor and might be the best option for many parents who don’t want to spend any money and don’t have the extra cushions and pillows. By having the mattress on the floor the baby is automatically closer to the floor and if they roll out there’s little chance of injury at that height. However, having the mattress on the floor is more uncomfortable than when it is supported by a proper bed frame.
Do babies often fall out of bed when co-sleeping?
Babies have been known to roll out of bed as reported by co-sleeping parents all over the world. But to say it happens often is an exaggeration. Typically, if it’s happened once for a parent they will swiftly ensure it never happens again. Generally, readers of this article will be parents who have just started to co-sleep and just want to be safe or they will be parents who have experienced their baby falling out of bed and want some tips of preventative measures.
Is it bad for baby to fall out of bed?
It’s not great when a baby falls out of bed, there are no two ways about it. Depending on the height, angle, weight of the baby and the material of the floor injuries can happen. At the very least they will wake up. In some cases, they may even develop anxiety over being in the bed in the first place which can make bedtime much, much harder. Prevention is better than a cure. Don’t let it happen once!
Is it OK for baby to roll over when sleeping?
It’s not a question of whether it’s OK to roll over, because babies and toddlers can and will roll over when they sleep, sometimes comically. Adults tend to roll over the side by side but we’ve seen our own toddler roll over front and back as well. It’s a perfectly normal thing for them to do but it will slow down once they become pre school age.
Should I avoid co-sleeping in a single bed?
Yes, we believe so. There is just not enough space in a single bed to co-sleep safely and the risk of rolling off the bed is increased. Plus, it can be more uncomfortable for the parent, too, which can result in poor sleep and back pain. If co-sleeping is what you want to do then we recommend going up to a double bed at the very least.