The safest place to sleep baby from birth is in a safe cot, which complies with the AS/NZS mandatory standards for either household or folding (portable) cots, in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first six to 12 months of life.
There is no Australian standard covering the use and manufacture of hammocks for babies.
Red Nose recommends that a baby should sleep on a firm and flat surface. One safety concern with the hammock is that it holds the baby in a curved position, this may cause baby’s neck to flex forward which may block baby’s airway not allowing airflow. A baby needs to be placed to sleep flat (not elevated or curved with chin on chest) to maintain an open airway
There is also a risk of injury or death from falls.
We are aware of case and injury reports documenting a number of hospital admissions of babies following a fall from a hammock and tragically two deaths of infants sleeping in hammocks in separate incidences in the USA in 2009 and an infant death in Victoria, Australia in 2011.
Research into these deaths in particular and the use of hammocks in general for babies concluded that they are not suitable for a baby to sleep in while unsupervised.
Last modified: 14/11/17