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Essay Example on the Toddlers Bed-Sharing Controversy

Date:  2021-05-20 02:24:14
3 pages  (653 words)
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Among the most controversial topics when it comes to infant and toddler development is bed-sharing. This is whereby a toddler shares a bed with an adult, in most cases the parent, in an adult bed. Over half of all parents usually find themselves sharing a bed with their infant children at one point or another. The issue is controversial due to the risk of the toddler getting injured in case the parent rolls over, as well as the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This essay analyses two academic articles that adopt opposing opinions on the topic.

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In their article titled Why Babies Should Never Sleep Alone, James J. McKenna and Thomas McDade offer several advantages of bed-sharing with toddlers. It makes it easier for nursing mothers to feed their toddlers at night with little or no sleep interruptions for both the baby and the mother. Also, some parents are of the opinion that it may seem cruel to put a highly social toddler in bed alone at night as it is akin to isolating him or her. According to McKenna & McDade (2005), infants feel a better sense of well-being and security if they sleep next to one or both parents. Another advantage highlighted in the article is that bed-sharing positively impacts family closeness and self-esteem.

Perhaps the only bias that McKenna and McDade have in their article is that they fail to mention the effect that bed-sharing has on child dependency. Co-sleeping increases the likelihood of toddlers becoming more dependent on parents when compared to those that sleep on their own beds. In addition, toddlers that share beds with their parents may have a hard time learning how to sleep alone. All in all, the benefits of bed-sharing highlighted in the article far outweigh the shortcomings.

There is an article titled Bed Sharing and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in which the authors share their misgivings about parents sharing a bed with toddlers. They are concerned that an infant sleeping on the same bed as an adult poses a suffocation risk. There is also the risk of SIDS, especially when the parent is a smoker, or is under the influence of intoxicating drugs or alcohol. Other risk factors exist, such as an increased likelihood of accidental falls considering that adult beds do not have rails like baby cots.

I feel that the article is biased because it also talks about the demerits of bed-sharing that dont have the toddlers interests at heart. For instance, the authors talk of a parents bed as being their own sanctuary. According to Vennemann et al. (2012), it is a child-free place for togetherness, rest, and sex. Additionally, the risk of suffocation mentioned in the article is very minimal in the case of toddlers aged one year or older. Whatever the case, the articles authors put across their concerns in a detailed and understandable manner. It is up to parents to weigh the pros and cons of bed- sharing and decide which way to go. If I conducted research on bed-sharing and my opinion matters, I would say that there is nothing wrong with it. Parents have been sharing adult beds with their infants since time immemorial. However, measures need to be taken to prevent the issues that make the topic controversial. For example, adults need to be careful when sleeping next to toddlers so as not to suffocate them. Also, putting rails on the bed can go a long way in preventing accidental falls.


McKenna, J. J., & McDade, T. (2005). Why babies should never sleep alone: a review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding. Paediatric respiratory reviews, 6(2), 134-152.

Vennemann, M. M., Hense, H. W., Bajanowski, T., Blair, P. S., Complojer, C., Moon, R. Y., & Kiechl-Kohlendorfer, U. (2012). Bed sharing and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome: can we resolve the debate?. The Journal of pediatrics, 160(1), 44-48.

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