Co-sleeping with your baby is a great way to enhance bonding and makes it much easier to handle feeding in the middle of the night. However, pediatricians raise very legitimate safety concerns about sleeping in the same bed with your baby.

Our solution is a sidecar cosleeper that sits beside the bed, putting the baby right next to us, but with her own sleeping area so we won't accidentally roll over & squish her. I've made three of these over the years using standard dimensional lumber. You can make your own in a couple of hours.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

The materials and dimensions listed in this instructable are for a 38" X 24" mattress that is 2-1/2" thick. (This is the standard "compact crib" size.) You can easily adapt the design for any size mattress.


  • A compact crib mattress. Buy this first to make sure you know the dimensions. (I used the Kolcraft Cozy Soft Portable Crib Mattress: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CUXV0Q.)
  • 2 - 1 X 12 X 8' (clear, no open knots)
  • 1 - 1 X 4 X 8'
  • 3 - 2 X 4 X 8'
  • 2-1/2" screws
  • 1-1/2" screws

The lumber is dimensional lumber in US sizes.

When I made this, the lumber cost $30, the screws $7, and the mattress $25.


  • A saw to cut the boards to length. One board will need to be ripped to a narrower width, so a circular saw is ideal, but with patience, you could do this with a good handsaw.
  • A saw to round off a couple of corners. (You can do this with a jigsaw, bandsaw. or coping saw.)
  • A router with a 3/8" roundover bit.
  • A drill with a countersink bit to pre-drill for the screws and drive the screws.
  • A Framing square.
  • 220 grit sandpaper.

<p>Can you suggest a hack for when the baby starts moving around? Keeping the nearness and opening but limiting risk? I'm thinking netting, but have doubts.</p>
<p>Late to the party here, but you could put a support beam across the legs and then weigh it down with a photography sand bag (check online). </p>
We just didn't have that problem, or at least not to the extent that it felt risky. When our babies were tiny, they stayed put pretty well, and by the time they were encroaching on our sleeping area, they were pretty big and robust and I had fewer concerns about smothering risk. (The risk had been transferred to me waking up with a baby sitting on my face.) Of course, whether there's a risk is always the parent's judgment call, not mine.<br><br>The net idea feels a bit risky to me. Entanglement and all. If I felt like the baby was rolling our way regularly, I think I'd just add a solid wood partition about 6 inches tall between the baby and parent's bed to keep the baby contained.
<p>My friends just had a baby. Sent them the plans. </p>
<p>This great instructable was the inspiration and a useful guide to build my version of the side bed.</p><p>Thanks really a lot!</p><p>Let me share my design:</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Robust-Side-Bed-for-Our-Incoming-Daughter/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Robust-Side-Bed-...</a></p>
<p>That's a really nice and sturdy design. I like the way you figured out how to accomplish the rounding without a router, and the attachment to the bed addresses one of the safety issues that worried me when I made ours. </p><p>As I type this, I realize that our daughter who used to be tiny and sleep in this bed is now running around with her friends and laughing happily. Here's to an equally happy future for your daughter!</p>
<p>Thank you so much for this! I'm going to get the materials to make one soon- just wondering how many 1 1/2'' screws and how many 2 1/2'' screws are needed? Thanks again, I just love this instructable and can't wait to make my own. </p>
I didn't really keep track of the screws, but I would estimate about 20 of the long screws and 30 of the short screws. I tend to buy boxes of the screws designed to be driven with a drill and just have them on hand for such projects. I'm sure a small box of each is more than enough, and the small boxes cost around $5 each. (Don't go for the fancy bright nickel plated or brass screws, instead look in the construction screw area of the fasterner aisle. I really like the deck screws that come with a &quot;T25&quot; bit to drive them. They are sturdy but cheap if you buy whole boxes.
<p>Made this for a friend. Great instructable!</p>
<p>Just finished mine. Thanks!</p>
<p>Love the maritime theme!</p>
<p>Thank you for such a nice idea, we both love it :) </p>
Hi Nick, great design. Would you mind sharing what mattress you used?
<p>According to my old Amazon orders, we used the Kolcraft Cozy Soft Portable Crib Mattress: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CUXV0Q" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CUXV0Q</a>.</p><p>The dimensions of that mattress are 38&quot; X 24&quot;, which is a standard used by many manufacturers. For safety at this age, using a thin, firm mattress is generally recommended so the infant can't sink into it enough to obstruct breathing. (The description says &quot;Cozy Soft&quot;, but it's 2.5 inches thick, so obviously there's not too much room to sink into this.)</p>
<p>I just updated the materials list with this link. Thanks for the idea to add that.</p>
my wife and I loved this so I built it... I opted to not use the router(being that I don't have one) and rounded the edges using my sander. it came out great.
That looks great! Thanks for posting the pictures. It takes some time to put together a set of clear instructions, but it's all worthwhile when you get to see other people making good use of them!
<p>cool idea. thanks for sharing this.</p>
<p>I was just looking for cosleeper ideas since they are so expensive in the store, thanks.</p>
<p>Using your base idea here I was able to make one of these to fit my families needs. Instead of building legs I was able to mount it on top of one of our night stands, also I made a shelf on it to hold alarm clock/cellphone since the original locations of these items are now taken up with the bed. Its not pretty yet but there are still a couple finishing touches to do such as round off the front corner, take a router around the edges, and paint if we decide to but I had to build this in a rush because my youngest daughter had out grown her other bed and there isn't enough room in our bed for all 4 of us. Thank you for this write up and the idea!</p>
<p>Nice! We also had the problem of losing nightstand space on that side of the bed. I considered screwing an old beercan holder to the side, but decided others might not understand that it was meant to hold my tea mug...</p>
<p>Made one like this back in 2010. Used a kitchen cart and added the top three side boards. It worked so well, the real crib was given away. Bummer I didn't take pixs of the setup, but only of our child laying in the top part sleeping. </p>
<p>Nice...Sweet! : )</p><p>Simple; easy build; plain; nothing fancy about it....I love it! : P</p><p>IDEA: </p><p>For the legs, to add to strength &amp; stability(so as a dog or other child does not cause this to collapse), what about PVC Pipe frame under the &quot;box&quot;/bed?</p><p>Or maybe even steel plumbing pipe? Say about 1.25 inch in diameter?</p><p>Personally, I would attach this to the bed for safety reasons regardless of how it is made. </p><p>My personal opinion is, there is no such thing as too much safety when it comes to our children/babies. I guess maybe I'm just weird that way.</p><p>I looked at the other plan you listed(the one with the sheets of MDF)....I have no qualms with his/her design/method, but I like this one better.</p><p>As for a finish, isn't there a veggie based oil/finish that can be applied to enhance the wood grain? Something veggie based would be about as non toxic as one can get I would think....</p><p>HOWEVER,</p><p>with your build, it looks fantastic!</p>
<p>Thanks for your kind words!</p><p>I agree that the ultimate in stability would be just attaching it to the bed. That can be done pretty easily using a couple of screw-eye and hook sets, thus allowing it to be detached for cleaning. (We had an 80-pound dog decide one of these should be her bed, and it remained stable during the resulting fracas.)</p><p>If I was looking for a finish, I think I'd start with this list of food-safe finishes from Fine Woodworking: <a href="http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/food-safe-finishes.aspx." rel="nofollow">http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/food...</a></p><p>However, we've made and used three of these, and they've all stayed pretty clean without a finish. Most of the mess stays on the mattress &amp; bedding.</p>
You are most welcome Sir.<br><br>I have a tendency to call it as I see it...sometimes, it gets me in trouble. :P<br><br>Another option may be to cover the bedside crib with a faux leather material...<br>it cleans up well(I know this from experience with my own &quot;babies&quot;), and it is quite easy to apply/install. <br>Just more of my ideas....<br><br>Again, A lovely Ible, &amp; you are most welcome Sir. :)
Awesome - this will definitely be come a must have in our ever expanding family!
This is by far my favorite instructable yet. I have my first daughter on the way and she will be here in June of 2015 and I will build one of these before hand lol!! I hated leaving my son in his crib on the other side of my bedroom and this will completely fix that!! I love it! I think it would look great with either designs cut in the backboard piece or just take a wood burner and burn something cool into it!! Thank you for the inspiration!!!
<p>Great project! I have created 2 years ago a similar project and will use it next year!!!</p><p>But I also added a hook (L profile) to mount it more sturly to my bed in case we would accidently bump against the cosleeper.</p>
when I see your's instructable I have more remember of my daugther.
If you'd like to expand on the idea, make a fold-down side where you have the opening so that the hinges are hidden underneath. This will allow you to have a freestanding 'crib' type and when using it as a sidecar you can open the side and place it between the mattresses, which should help with any gap issues; even if a gap occurs the extra board will support the child until rectified (might also want to plan on rubber feet for the legs).
<p>That's a good idea. It would take some thinking to figure out how to do this gracefully when the mattress thickness is different, but it would work beautifully for folks who sleep on a thin futon-style mattress. Our cosleeper is on a rug, so it stays put surprisingly well, but on a hard floor, rubber feet make sense. I'll add that thought to the safety page.</p>
<p>what a great idea. I want to show it to my grandsons so they can build it for their babies.</p>
That's a really good solution to sleeping with a baby :-)
<p>Wow! This is really cool - I love it. Your baby seems to really enjoy this cosleeper! Great job - keep it up.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy technology when it helps people. (And occasionally when it involves harmless pyrotechnics in the back yard.)
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