What Is A Co Sleeping Bed? All You Need To Know!


Are you thinking about trying co sleeping but prefer to stick to methods that you know provide the most safety and security for you and your child both?

Are you looking for a way to get the best of both worlds while sharing a sleeping arrangement with your child and focusing on safety at the same time?

Would you like to make your future transition to crib or cot sleeping a little bit easier on your child?

  • We bring you everything you need to know about co-sleeping beds 
  • Know the types of co-sleeping beds to see which could work best 
  • Learn the different ways a co-sleeping bed connects to your bed 
  • Discover the safety features found in a great co-sleeping bed

If any of these are true of you, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn everything about co sleeping beds, including what they are, how to use them, which safety features they include, and much more.

If you’ve ever been interested in co sleeping bed options that provide ample safety, you’re in luck there too. co sleep beds are one of the best ways to keep your little one close to your side all night long without worrying about any of the safety concerns you may have with a more hands-on co sleeping experience.

Below, you’ll learn where to buy co sleep beds, which types are available, and how to use one. By the time you get finished reading, you should be a pro when it comes to choosing and using your new co sleeping bed.

So let’s get started!

What is a Co Sleep Bed?

What is a co sleeping bed for baby? You may have heard this term tossed around here and there, but you might still be feeling a little bit confused about it. In order to better understand what a co sleeping bed is, you first need to know a little bit about co sleeping in general.

 how does co sleeper attach to bed
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    The process of co sleeping is when you invite your baby or child to sleep in the same space in which you’re sleeping. Most parents believe this means bringing your baby or child into the same bed that you’re sleeping in, but the term co sleeping can also refer to co sleep attachments, cots and cribs, and even a child’s bed in the same room as your bed.
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    The type of co sleeping that utilizes a co sleep bed is sometimes referred to as “sidecar” co sleeping. This usually means that you’re using some other type of sleeping arrangement to keep your child right next to the bed all night long. Ideally, in this situation, you’ll be able to reach your baby without having to get out of bed completely. However, some parents may have to stand up to reach their children depending on the layout of the bedroom.
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    But what is a co sleeping bed? They are any sleeping surface that isn’t your own bed but also isn’t a dedicated “traditional” baby crib or toddler cot. Many co sleeping beds are convertible, meaning they can be used as a sidecar attachment bed and then converted into a dedicated baby crib later on when your child has reached the point of sleeping in his or her own space. Not all co sleep beds function this way, however. Others may hang over your side of the bed or be attached to the edge of your mattress depending on the style you choose.
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    Co sleep beds are designed specifically for babies to use, which is one of the biggest reasons why they’re generally considered a much safer co sleeping option than keeping your child in your own bed with you. These sleepers include mattresses that are firm and sturdy enough for a baby to use and include safety features to keep your child from falling out of the bed during the night.

Although using a co sleep attachment is certainly not the only way you can enjoy co sleeping with your child, it remains the safest option outside of putting your baby in his or her own bed in the same room.

How Does a Co Sleep Bed Work?

How does a co sleeping bed attach to bed for daily use? This answer may change depending on the type of co sleep bed you’re using. It’s important for you to evaluate the space you have in your bedroom, the size of your baby, and the type of bed you’ll be using before you choose the correct co sleep bed version for you and your child. Below, we’ve outlined the right way to use three of the most popular types of co sleep beds so you’ll have a better idea of which one may work best for your home.

Sidecar attachments: 

 how does co sleeper attach to bed

For this type of co sleeping item that attaches to the side of your bed, you must have a bed frame that is aligned with the mattress and box springs and doesn’t extend beyond the sides of either one. This means that you should have a more traditional bed and not the type that looks “sunken” or is otherwise styled with a larger frame than the mattress requires.

With this type of co sleep item, you’ll attach the sleeper cot to an anchor that runs beneath your own mattress and attaches to the other side of the bed. The tension of the cords beneath your mattress helps to hold it firmly in place. There should never be more than a half an inch of space between the co sleep unit and your own mattress with this type of sleeper.

Swivel sleepers: 

Many parents enjoy using this type of bassinet for co sleeping because it can be used as a stand-alone crib or positioned over the side of your own mattress to support your baby further and keep him or her close during the night. This gives you much more freedom throughout the day and ensures that you and your baby will always be able to enjoy either bedtime or naptime in the way that works best for you.

These are much easier to use than the sidecar attachment version of the co sleep bed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re automatically better. With this type of sleeper, you’ll need to assemble the whole sleeper and ensure that it’s very safely put together to keep your baby’s weight from breaking it or tipping it over. You’ll also need to move the sleeper around often throughout the day, which may or may not work well for you.

Locking sleepers: 

 co sleeping bedroom ideas

If you find that you’re having some trouble with the sidecar attachment method of securing your sleeper to your mattress, a locking version may work better for you. With this type of crib, you can push the sleeper right up against your own mattress and use the built-in locks to affix it firmly in place. Be sure to check these locks regularly and adjust them as needed to keep the sleeper where it needs to be.

This and the sidecar type of sleeper both may become jostled around during the night, so get into the habit of doing a nightly quick check to be sure the sleeper is flush against your own mattress and that nothing is moving around more than it should. Both of these methods of sleeper are equally good choices, but they both do require a little bit more in terms of safety checks and regular care on your part.

What are the Safety Features of a Co Sleeping Bed?

If you’re like any parent, you’re concerned with the safety of your child no matter what. During the co sleeping experience, you may find that your concerns for your little one only increase, and that’s okay! You may be worried about your baby sleeping in or near the same bed you’re in, and you may be worried about his or her emotional and physical responses to this setup both. Keep in mind, however, that there are many safety features included in every co sleeping bed and these are designed to keep your child as secure as possible for as long as possible.

 where to buy a co sleeper
  • The sleeper should be made of baby-safe materials. If your child has allergies to certain types of chemicals or natural materials, you should be sure to choose a sleeper that doesn’t include these substances. You may also want to choose one that isn’t made of plastic that has a strong smell as it may be unpleasant for you or your baby. Always choose a co sleeping bed that's flame-resistant whenever possible.
  • The sleeper should either have a fully formed bottom or should hold your baby in place somehow. Some stylized sleepers have been designed with open “insides” that don’t actually support your baby very well. This type of sleeper is best avoided. If you’re using a swivel sleeper, you should always position the crib portion of the sleeper over your own mattress when it’s in use by your little one.
  • The sleeper should not allow your baby to roll onto his or her sides or stomach. If your co sleeping crib is large enough to allow your child to roll onto his or her sides or stomach, you should consider downgrading to something smaller at least until your baby can safely sleep in a position other than on his or her back. The exception to this is the crib style co sleep attachment that can eventually be converted into a crib, as it’s always going to be large enough for your child to roll around in it.
  • Your sleeper should always be able to sit flush against the mattress of your adult bed. If there is more than a half an inch of space between the two pieces of furniture, you should change one of these items to improve the setup. Your sleeper should also be able to be held in place securely using some type of lock or anchor and it should never be used “freestanding” without some type of support.
  • Last but not least, the sleeper should be comfortable for everyone! A sleeper that’s too uncomfortable for your baby will lead to restless and sleepless nights, and a sleeper that’s too hard and uncomfortable when it’s a part of your own bed is sure to do the same. Give yourself and your child the best possible chance for success when co sleeping by choosing a sleeper that’s designed for comfort as much as it is for safety.

What is the Best Way for a Baby to Use a Co Sleep Bed?

Understanding the best way to use your co sleeping bed is easily the most important factor in using one in the first place. You need to be completely certain that you can provide a healthy sleeping arrangement for your child that won’t put him or her at risk for any danger or injuries. Of course, you should also be sure you and your baby both are getting enough sleep no matter which sleeping arrangement you end up choosing. In this section, we’ll give you safety tips and help guide you toward picking the right co sleep bed to suit your needs as well.

  • Only use your co sleeping bed on the bed it was intended for. You should already know from the information found previously in our article that there are some types of beds that won’t work well with a co sleep attachment. If your bed is the correct type for use with a sidecar or any other type of co sleeping unit, that’s great! But just remember that you shouldn’t be picking up the sleeper attachment and moving it to other beds in your home, as it has been fitted specifically to your bed. If you have a swivel sleeper, however, you can easily move this bassinet without worry.
  • Do not use your co sleep bed attachment on the sofa, a table, or any other piece of furniture. These types of furniture are not intended for sleeping on, and even if you have the most comfortable sofa in the world, the sleeper attachment was not designed to be used with it. This also applies to children’s beds! Stick to the right furniture for the best and safest results.
 what is a co sleeper bed
  • If your baby is premature or just very small, consider starting with room sharing and moving to co sleeping in a month or two. Small babies tend to do best when kept in their own sleeping arrangements, but of course, you may want to keep your child near you to ensure that the both of you get a restful night of sleep. You may want to put your child in a dedicated, separate baby crib pushed right next to your side of the bed (but closed and locked properly) until your little one has gotten big enough for co sleeping.
  • The right age to begin co sleeping depends on you and your baby both. You’ll need to consider your child’s physical development, weight and size, and emotional ability to sleep alone or to co sleep. You’ll also need to consider very similar aspects in yourself to determine when it’s the right time to get started co sleeping.
  • Always use your co sleeping unit with the correct mattress and bed sheets for your child’s age. Your sleeper probably came with a mattress, but even if it didn’t, you’ll want to use a baby-safe firm mattress. Never overcrowd the sleeper and always be sure the bottom sheet fits firmly against the mattress and cannot be pulled up during the night by a wriggly baby.
  • Do not use blankets or plush toys until your child is old enough for them. These will only become a suffocation risk that you don’t need to take until your little one can handle sleeping with these items without any concern.
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  • Keep in mind that there is always going to be a co sleep age limit when you use one of these beds. These sleepers are only large enough to accommodate children up to a certain weight, and when your baby reaches that stage of development, it’s time to stop using the item and choose a different method of co sleeping. Most sleeper attachments can be used until about five or six months of age, while swivel bassinets may need to be stopped by four to five months of age.
  • The right age to stop co sleeping may not correlate with the right age to stop using a co sleep bed. This doesn’t mean you have to stop co sleeping immediately, but it does mean you need to make other, safer arrangements to ensure that your child is safe and secure at all times. Putting a child who is too old or too large into a co sleep attachment or swivel bed is a sure way to cause an injury or risk serious physical harm to your little one. You may choose this time to transition to bed sharing, room sharing, or to sleeping separately altogether depending on what’s right for your family.

Types of Co Sleep Beds

There are a few different types of co sleep beds to choose from, as we’ve mentioned previously. Just in case you’re wondering what the differences are, here is a brief rundown.

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This is the type of sleeper that attaches to your bed either using a locking system or with tense cords that are anchored to the other side of the bed. This is probably what you think of when you imagine a co sleeping bed, and it’s one of the most popular choices. Some of these can be converted into dedicated baby cribs.

Bedside crib: 

This is a traditional baby crib kept next to your bed. There’s nothing new about this type of crib, but keeping it within arm’s reach of your own bed may make a big difference for you and your child. This is a great option for premature or very small babies.


Swivel bassinets are another popular option that allows for more freedom of movement. They are usually on four legs with wheels but may sometimes sit on a sturdy tripod.

If you catch yourself asking, “Where can I buy a co sleep product?” we have a few tips for you to keep in mind here as well.

  • Some big box stores carry a few options. However, your choices may be limited and you may not be happy with the brand names you have to pick from in these stores.
  • Baby-specific stores may have a little bit more of a selection. If you’re looking to examine a sleeper before you buy it, this is probably the best option for you.
  • Amazon is a great place to buy sleepers because you can have them delivered right to your door without having to try to find a time to go purchase one during your hectic parenting schedule. You can also check reviews and see what other parents are saying about the same sleepers.


Do you feel a little bit more well-versed in the world of co sleep beds? Do you believe you’ll be able to choose the right type of co sleep attachment and attach it to your bed or otherwise use it properly with your child? Do you understand where to buy a co sleep bed depending on the type you’re looking to purchase? There’s a lot to learn about when you’re ready to get started using a co sleeping bed, but we hope we’ve helped you learn as much as possible before you get started. With the right information to help you along the way, you should be able to make excellent decisions for you and your child throughout your co sleeping experience.

co sleeper that attaches to bed

But how can you know if a co sleep unit is really right for you? The answer in most situations is just to give it a try. The right answer for you and your family may not be the same answer that another family could come up with. It’s all about trying the co sleeping experience and seeing what works for you. However, it’s important to remember that your child is more likely to sleep well through the night during a co sleeping experience and you may notice yourself having more restful nights as well. In the end, it’s all about what provides you and your child with the safest, most comfortable, and most successful night of sleeping.

Now all that’s left is to come up with some co sleeping bedroom ideas! Good luck and have fun!




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Virginia R. Samuel
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About The Author

Virginia R. Samuel is a full-time working mother and the Editor in Chief of ABCKidsINC.  She has worked as a ghost writer for a variety of online sites as well as a research writer in the fields of breastfeeding and early childhood development, among other childcare-related subjects. Virginia presently loves her editorial work on ABCKidsINC, and hopes that the information and articles she has crafted over the years will be beneficial to other moms and dads who are just starting out on their parenting adventure.

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