Mothers are so physically and mentally aware of their baby that this is highly unlikely unless alcohol or drugs are involved. In addition, a baby is not completely helpless. If a parent starts to roll onto a baby, she will most likely wake up and cry. Fathers may not be as aware and could knock the baby with a stray arm. Consider keeping the baby on the other side of mom and install a guard rail or move the bed flush against the wall. Keep pillows and blankets away from the baby's face. Do not allow a baby to sleep on a couch, bean bag, or water bed. Never sleep with the baby when under the influence of alcohol or tranquilizing medication.

Marriage and Sex

Most parents throughout the world sleep with their infants with no such problems. A Swedish study looked at this issue and found that the parents' marital relations were not harmed by having a child sleep with them and that it did not cause a rise in the divorce rate. If both parents agree on it, sharing sleep usually does not contribute to marital conflict (however, it won't work if you don't want the child there). Many parents report that co-sleeping has lead to more creativity in their sex lives. They point out that there are many other rooms in the house. They may also move a sleeping child to the floor or another room temporarily.

Will They Ever Leave?

You can gradually wean your child from your bed. Weaning may be easier before the age of 9 to 12 months due to the intense separation anxiety which can set in at that time. It may also be easier around the end of the second year when the separation anxiety tends to ease up. Most children voluntarily leave around the second or third year but many parents report their older children still "visit" in times of need. As children get older, they don't need the security of their parents' presence as much. Tine Thevenin, in her earlier book "The Family Bed: An Age Old Concept in Child Rearing" noted, "Parents' experiences indicate that the healthy child will wean himself in time from the parental bed. Children should be given the credit that, provided the home environment is healthy, they will mature. As each need is fulfilled at each stage, they will move on and become more mature." The issue should be how the child leaves not when. Often times parents begin by putting the child on a mattress on the floor next to their bed and gradually move him to his own room or to a sibling's bedroom. Studies have shown that children under three sleep better sharing a bedroom rather than alone in their own rooms. Parents also report that siblings who sleep together quarrel less.

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