Firm and Flat is Safest for Sleeping

Many parents believe that creating soft, cosy and nest-like environments for their babies to sleep is the way to ensure comfort, however these environments create hazards that have been associated with tragic outcomes.


Why do soft sleep surfaces increase the risk?

The soft walls of a nest, pillows, or padded bumpers may block baby’s airway if they turn their face into the padding. Similarly, babies who roll over while laying on a soft surface may end up with their mouth and nose pressed into the surface which can obstruct their breathing causing suffocation or allow exhaled air to build up around baby’s mouth and nose, causing “rebreathing” of carbon dioxide which can be fatal.

When sleeping, it is very important that babies remain on a firm and flat surface with nothing around their face or head.

Ensure there is no soft bedding in baby’s sleep environment.

Devices such as nests or cocoons, and other soft items of bedding (such as pillows, doonas, loose bedding or fabric, lambswool, bumpers or soft toys) in the cot are unnecessary and may cover baby’s face and obstruct baby’s breathing.

What sleep environment should parents choose?

  • A safe cot or portable cot that meets the Australian Mandatory Safety Standards
  • A FIRM, clean, well-fitted mattress that is not tilted or elevated.
  • Lightweight bedding that allows for airflow and that is firmly tucked in (or choose a safe sleeping bag!)

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Last modified: 8/2/23