Safe Sleeping


Sadly 81 babies died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in Australia in 2010 and, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland had the highest rate, numbering 35. The good news is that risk reduction measures have worked! They saw death rates fall by 80% between 1989 and 2010, following the introduction and promotion of the SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping campaign.  

Risk reduction:
The following suggestions will help to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents:

  • Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side.
  • Sleep baby with head and face uncovered.
  • Position baby’s feet at the bottom of the cot.
  • Keep baby smoke free before birth and after.
  • Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day and be aware of the risks presented by pets and young children.
  • Use a firm, clean, well-fitting mattress.
  • Do not use a water bed or bean bag.
  • Doonas, pillows, cot bumpers and soft toys are NOT recommended for use it cots.
  • Tuck in the bedclothes securely or use a sleeping bag with plenty of room for baby to move around inside.
  • Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months.
  • Breastfeed or give breast milk to baby if you can.


Cot Safety:
The ACCC recommend the following:

  • The distance from the top of the mattress to the top of the cot should be at least 500mm.
  • The space between the bars should be 50mm – 95mm.
  • The space between the cot sides/ends and the mattress should be no more than 20mm.
  • Casters should be on two legs only or at least one pair of casters should have breaks.


Dummy use: 
There are health advantages and disadvantages for using dummies/pacifiers. The evidence about dummy use to reduce the risk of SIDS is inconclusive at this time. Until there is more conclusive evidence about dummies being protective for SIDS, SIDS and Kids makes no recommendation about dummy use.

Co-sleeping: 
Sharing a sleep surface with a baby is a complex issue that encompasses many factors and there is currently insufficient evidence to issue a blanket statement either for or against this practice. Several studies have demonstrated that babies who sleep in close proximity to their mothers have better outcomes relating to successful initiation and duration of breastfeeding. However, there is evidence that sharing a sleep surface with a baby increases the risk of sudden infant death and fatal sleeping accidents in some circumstances.

Co-sleeping risk factors: 
Sharing a sleep surface with a baby must be strictly AVOIDED in the following circumstances:

  • Where the baby shares the sleep surface with a smoker 
  • Where there is adult bedding, doonas or pillows that may cover the baby 
  • Where the baby could be trapped between the wall and bed, could fall out of bed or could be rolled upon
  • Where the parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs that cause sedation or is overly tired 
  • Where babies are sharing beds with other children or pets 
  • Where the baby is placed to sleep on a sofa, beanbag, waterbed or sagging mattress
  • Where baby is placed between two adults 


Red Nose:

For further details refer to Red Nose (previously known as SIDS and Kids): 

https://rednose.com.au/section/safe-sleeping

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