How to talk to your parents about safe sleep

If you’ve just had a little one, your parents might be excited to help look after them. But many things might have changed since you were a baby.

Something we often hear at Red Nose is concern and uncertainty from new parents is that their parents (the new grandparents!) aren’t following our safe sleep recommendations.

Sometimes, grandparents believe that because they raised healthy children themselves, they don’t need to listen to advice from others.

While this is well-meaning, it can be dangerous. Sleeping baby on their back in a safe environment and keeping their head and face uncovered is crucial to reduce the risk of SIDS and SUDI.

So, how can you talk to your grandparents about this?

1. Defer to the experts

Red Nose is the National Authority on safe sleep. We offer free advice and support to parents and grandparents alike, through our online education materials and Safe Sleep Advice Line (1300 998 698 and education@rednose.org.au).

If there’s a difference of opinion, you can count on us to offer impartial, evidence based advice. In the last 40 years, our evidence-based advice has helped to save the lives of over 10,000 babies.

2. Set up a safe environment

A safe environment is a key part of safe sleep. By ensuring the cot is safe, you’re well on your way to helping your baby sleep safely.

In doing so, you only need to mention that baby should be put down on their back, with nothing covering their head and face. Nanna has plenty of time to knit beanies as your child gets older!

3. Share the load

Grandparents do have experience and expertise that can be helpful. If you take on the role of ‘sleep manager’, perhaps you could let them be responsible for something else. They can help you to prepare food and meals, take other children out for activities, handle the shopping or any other tasks ‘they know best’.

Every family is different, so what works for you might be unique. Let them know that you love and trust them, and your only concern is keeping your baby as safe as possible.

To help, we have created a special Grandparents video which explains what changes since you were a baby and how to practice safe sleep.


Last modified: 14/3/20