To put your mind at ease, here we tell you everything you need to know about next-to-me cribs, including how to use them safely.
What is a next-to-me crib?
Next-to-me cribs which are also called side-sleeping cribs, co-sleeping cots, or bedside cribs are baby cribs that attach to the side of the parents’ bed. They have their own stand and can usually be adjusted in height so that they sit at the same level as the bed. Typically, they have three sides or a side that can be lowered. The open side faces the parents’ bed so that there’s no barrier between the crib and the bed.
Why do some parents use next-to-me cots?
One reason some parents choose next-to-me cribs is convenience. If a baby wakes in the night, a parent can comfort or feed them quickly and easily without needing to get out of bed. This can minimise the time both baby and parent are awake, allowing both to fall back to sleep faster.
Another important reason some parents opt for a next-to-me cot is that they want the security and peace of mind of having their baby close at night. Sleeping with your baby in the same bed is not recommended as it can put them at risk. Having them in a next-to-me crib allows you to have a separate bed for your baby, but to have them as close to you as possible in the early weeks and months of their life.
Are next-to-me cribs safe?
You can find warnings online that caution against using next-to-me cribs. And in 2016, sadly a baby died in the UK whilst in a next-to-me-cot. But the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and other organisations do say that bedside cribs are safe when used correctly. Having your baby in their own bed in your room is the safest way for them to sleep, and next-to-me-cribs allow this.
The case of the baby dying in 2016, unfortunately, was because the next-to-me-crib she was in wasn’t used correctly and she became trapped on a half-lowered moveable wall.
How to use a next-to-me cot safely
Each brand and model of a next-to-me crib is unique, and each will be fitted in its own way. But with any next-to-me cot, you need to make sure you follow the below advice so you and your little one can sleep easy at night:
- Install the next-to-me-crib exactly as described by the manufacturer: Any baby equipment can become dangerous if not used correctly. Follow the instructions that come with a next-to-me-crib to the letter. You can often find helpful videos online that show how to fit them, but make sure you only watch reputable ones such as videos made by the manufacturer.
- Make sure there is no gap between the next-to-me-crib and your bed: Babies move around in their beds, especially those that have begun to roll over. If there’s a gap between the cot and your bed, your baby could roll into it and become trapped and will be at risk of suffocating. If you can’t fit a next-to-me-crib without having a gap, don’t use that model.
- Make sure there are no obstacles between the next-to-me-crib and your bed: Your baby could roll and become trapped on any obstructions, such as the wall between their crib and bed being half-lowered rather than fully lowered. Make sure there are no hazards between their cot and your bed.
- If you can’t fit a next-to-me-crib properly, don’t use it: Bedside cots are safe, but only if used properly. If you can’t fit a next-to-me crib safely, don’t be tempted to use it anyway.
What should I look for in a next-to-me crib?
When choosing a next-to-me cot, you should make sure it:
- Has clear instructions on how to install it
- Will fit your bed frame properly
- Can be adjusted to the same height as your bed
- Has a drop-down or removable wall that’s easy to use – even in the dark at 3 am when you’re still half-asleep
- Has a firm, flat mattress that is easily removed for cleaning and that has a waterproof cover
- Feels of good quality, is stable, and won’t move or change position in the night
If you are not sure on any of these factors with the next-to-me crib you are looking at purchasing then make sure you speak to an expert and get their advice so you can feel at ease with your choice.
The final word on next-to-me cribs
Next-to-me cribs are safe sleeping options for your baby, as long as you buy one that's appropriate for your bed. Your baby is most at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at night when they’re asleep. This means you should always make sure you use the next-to-me crib correctly and follow the recommended safe sleeping habits for babies.