A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

What's the likelihood of suffocating a child sleeping in your bed?

November 22, 1996

Dear Cecil:

Recently my wife and I successfully reproduced ourselves — that is, we had a baby. We're enjoying little Binky so much that we like her to sleep in bed with us, but our parents and some friends have expressed concern that we might roll over and suffocate her while sleeping.

Our reply is that we're so happy she's there that there's no way we would just forget and crush her. I seem to recall hearing somewhere that, while a lot of people worry about it, there is no record of any new parent ever smothering a baby by accident while sleeping.

So what about it, Cecil? Can you shed some light on this controversial issue?

Cecil replies:

Ahem.

Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king [Solomon], and stood before him. And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

And this woman's child died in the night, because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear (1 Kings 3:16-21).

Come on, you say, it's the Bible. Since when do we accept the Bible as gospel?

I rest my case.

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