A question to keep parents up at night: whether to allow their children into their bed

Christina Ricci’s comment that she frequently shares a bed with her eight-year-old son has led to a debate about co-sleeping: should kids be kept firmly in their own rooms, and can you stop them climbing under your duvet even if you don’t want them to?

A passing comment by the Hollywood actor Christina Ricci that she shares a bed with her eight-year-old son became an international news story last month. Whereas she has her bed invaded by her older child, her youngest sleeps soundly solo. “The fact that I can put her down in her crib and she just goes to sleep when my eight-year-old still sleeps with me is amazing,” she told People magazine.

Few things in the parenting world attract more opinions than sharing a bed with your baby or child. And understandably so: according to The Lullaby Trust, around 133 babies die each year in the UK in co-sleeping situations. The death of a baby is a tragedy beyond comprehension and I was so frightened of the possibility that I spent the first two years of my son’s life stumbling around in the dark and trying miserably to settle him in a cot, hallucinating with tiredness and vibrating with adrenaline. Until he became big enough and mobile enough, after transitioning to his first bed, that to keep him from invading ours felt like trying to keep the Atlantic Ocean off a beach.

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