While snoozing on the sofa may seem harmless, it can be dangerous for several reasons. Putting infants to sleep on any soft surface, such as a couch, increases the likelihood of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome. Plus, couch sleeping also raises the risk of entrapment or suffocation on sofa cushions. And if another person is on the couch with the sleeping infant, the risk for SIDS or suffocation becomes even greater. As a result, mothers should be cautious about nursing on a sofa because of the dangers of inadvertently falling asleep there with the baby.
Parents should consistently place infants to sleep on their backs and avoid all soft bedding, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Infant Sleep Positioning and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. --Diana McKeon Charkalis
Originally published in Child magazine, October 2003. Updated 2009.