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Is It Dangerous for an Infant & a Toddler to Share a Room?

by Shala Munroe

Bringing a new baby into your home disrupts not only your routine but that of your toddler as well. Whether your toddler is excited about or resentful of the new addition, letting the two children share a room can be dangerous for your infant. It can also be frustrating for your toddler, who must give up play space and might not be able to get a good night's sleep.

SIDS

Sometimes there's just not enough space in your house to give your children separate bedrooms. If you must put your toddler and infant in the same room, make sure each has his own sleeping space, such as a crib and a toddler bed. Letting your toddler and infant share a bed increases the risk of your infant dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In infants studied by the National Institutes of Health, those who died from SIDS were 5.4 times more likely to have regularly shared a bed with a sibling than infants who slept alone.

Helpful Toddler

Toddlers don't always understand the potential dangers associated with their actions, and your toddler might harm your infant when he's actually trying to be nice. For example, your toddler might put a blanket in the baby's crib in an attempt to share, but a blanket is a serious suffocation hazard for an infant. The same goes for stuffed animals or clothes that the toddler might place in the crib. Sharing toys can also be a problem if your toddler puts choking hazards into the crib with the baby.

Toy Dangers

When your infant needs some playtime, a shared room can be a dangerous place. Toys that are safe for your toddler might not be safe for your infant. Always supervise in-room play if your children share a room, especially when the baby starts crawling. When she's crawling and pulling up, she can gain access to toys with small parts that can cause choking or those with sharp edges or corners that can hurt her eyes.

Toddler Sleep Pattern

Although crying at night isn't dangerous for your infant, it can take a toll on your toddler. A crying infant can wake up your toddler repeatedly, keeping him from getting enough sleep. This can lead to crankiness and lethargy during the day, making an already hectic schedule worse for you as you try to deal with the toddler while juggling a baby's needs. One way to combat this is to keep the baby in your bedroom in a bassinet or crib until she begins to sleep for at least five or six hours at a time, which often happens around 4 months old, according to WhatToExpect.com. This arrangement makes nighttime feedings and diaper changes more convenient while minimizing the number of times the crying baby wakes up your toddler.

About the Author

Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.

Photo Credits

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