Can Twins Share a Cot Bed? For How Long? What About SIDS? The Ultimate Cot Bed Guide for Twins
If you are recently blessed with twin babies or are about to give birth to them, there must be a lot of questions bouncing around in your mind. Among the most common concerns parents have is how to ensure a safe sleeping arrangement for their twins. They struggle with questions like, “Can we have our twins share a cot bed or do we have to get separate beds for each baby?” There are also concerns about co-bedding and the risk of SIDS. If you are a parent wondering about whether or not your twin babies can share a cot bed, we have the answer for you.
Yes, twins can share a cot bed. This is called co-bedding and is perfectly safe until the twins are ready for childhood beds or when they start to move in a way that they might hurt each other. While there are few studies about co-bedding and the risk of SIDS, the practice of co-bedding twins is very common, especially for the first month. This suggests that co-bedding twins does not significantly increase the risk of SIDS.
- How big are cot beds and cot bed mattresses?
- How do you assemble a cot bed?
- When should you transition a baby from a cot bed to a toddler bed?
For How Long Can Twins Share a Cot Bed?
According to the National Health Service of the UK twins can share a cot bed as long as the crib or cot bed is large enough for them. Please note that when your twins sleep together it is important to follow the same safe sleep practices as for single babies, which we’ll outline for you below.
The best time to separate your twins is when you feel that they have grown too big to share a cot or when their movements become such that you fear that they might hurt each other or disturb each other’s sleep.
If after separating your twins, you feel that they are not reacting well to it, you can keep their separate beds near so that they continue to be comforted by each other’s presence.
What Are the Benefits When Twins Share a Cot Bed?
Everything has pros and cons, and co-bedding your twins is no exception. Let us first have a look at the benefits when your twins share a cot bed..
- The twins derive a sense of security and comfort from each other’s presence.
- If you have a large enough cot bed for twins, it will save you the hassle of getting two cribs and a single cot bed takes up less space in your room.
- Having the twins in the same place makes it easier for you to keep an eye on them simultaneously and to cater to their needs.
- Studies have found that co-bedded twins sleep more soundly and have better regulated breathing patterns and sleep cycles.
- The co-bedding of preterm twins was found to help with the recovery of heel lance and was also found to be associated with a reduced occurrence of Central Apnea which is a sleep related disorder.
Some cons of having your twins sleep together in a cot bed include:
- It can be a problem if the sleeping habits of twins differ from each other. One of them crying can disturb the sleep of another.
- As they grow older, the twins may accidentally hurt each other.
- As the twins grow, the area inside the cot will become too crowded for the two of them to remain together.
How to be Safe When Twins Share a Cot Bed?
It is important to note that while it is deemed safe to let the twins share a cot bed, it is advisable for parents to follow the same safety protocol recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for single infants:
- Make sure that the cot bed’s mattress is firm and that the sheet that fits tightly. You can also use mattress covers instead of loose sheets.
- Make sure that the cot bed is free of toys and other objects when the twins are going to sleep.
- It is important to make the twins lie down on their back as it is known to lower the risk of SIDS.
- Specifically for twins, the sleeping arrangement should be such that they are sleeping head to head instead of side by side. The twins that sleep side by side tend to roll onto each other while sleeping and this leads to side-sleeping, which can be risky. The safe sleep protocol says that infants must sleep on their back.
- Also, make sure you do not use Cot Bed bumpers
SIDS Risk When Twins Share a Cot Bed?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as crib death, is the unexplained death of a baby less than 1 year of age. The baby is seemingly healthy and the death occurs usually while the baby is sleeping.
The reason for SIDS is still unknown but there have been a number of studies on the phenomenon that have correlated instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with a wide variety of factors related to the physique, surroundings, and life of the baby. Based on what we know from research, SIDS appears to be associated with the part of the brain that controls sleep and breathing.
Based on current studies, twins seem to be at greater risk of SIDS. The reason for the increased risk is however unknown.
While the sharing of cot beds among twins is a common practice, the AAP recommends that twins each be given their own bed.
Are There Crib Dividers for When Twins Share a Cot Bed?
If you are worried about the safety of your twins sharing a cot bed, but do not have enough space for two beds, one solution is to use crib dividers. Crib dividers can be inserted in the crib to separate the sleeping area of each twin.
Crib dividers can give both your babies a safe sleeping area while they are sharing the same cot bed. Using a crib divider can save you the money and space necessary to buy an extra crib.
Although crib dividers can be very useful, there are a few things you have to consider when using them:
- Make sure that the crib divider is attached to the crib firmly so that it doesn’t fall over onto one baby if the other randomly kicks it.
- Make sure that it is made of a material that your babies are not allergic to. Some babies have a latex allergy so make sure to buy a divider made of material that is safe.
- If your crib divider wears out with time, make sure to replace it.
- Remove the divider when your twins are awake and active so that they do not get injured while trying to climb over to the other side of the divider.
Here are a few examples of some good crib dividers and their prices that you can find online. You can also get cot beds and cribs that are specifically created for kids and have crib dividers already installed in them.
- Cot bed accessories and why you need them
Why Put Twins in Separate Beds?
If you are wondering why it is recommended to put your twins into separate beds as they grow older, here are a few reasons:
- Your twins have grown too large to share a cot bed.
- Separate beds help your twins develop a sense of independence.
- You can pay more attention to each twin’s individual sleep cycle.
Your twins have grown too large to share a cot bed.
The first reason to arrange separate beds for twins is that they will eventually outgrow the shared cot bed and will start to crowd each other and disturb each other’s sleep. Additionally, as they begin to move more, keeping your twins in the same cot bed may increase the risk that they injure each other.
Separate beds help your twins develop a sense of independence.
Another reason is to give them a sense of growing up and independence. As children grow up they become more physically active, and having separate beds will give them the freedom to easily move about without tripping over each other.
You can pay more attention to each twin’s individual sleep cycle.
Separate beds will also allow you to pay more attention to the individual sleep cycle and sleeping habits of each twin. As you will be able to observe your twins individually, you will also be better able to manage their individual needs.
Read more about how to transition kids from cot beds to toddler beds