How to talk to your parents about safe sleep

If you’ve just had a little one, no doubt your parents will be excited to help look after them.

But, something we often hear at Red Nose is concern from new parents that their parents (the new grandparents!) aren’t following our safe sleep recommendations. This can be because there was no such things as safe sleeping when you were a baby or they think they know best, after all they did raise you!

While this is well-meaning, it can be dangerous. Many things might have changed since you were a baby, and it’s important to make sure grandma and grandpa know to how practice safe sleeping.

Sleeping baby on their back in a safe environment and keeping their head and face uncovered is crucial to reducing the risk of sudden infant death and fatal sleeping accidents.

So, how can you talk to your (grand)parents about it?


Defer to the experts

Red Nose is the national authority on safe sleep.

Our safe sleeping recommendations have helped to reduce SIDS by 85 per cent in Australia since 1988 – that’s 10,857 babies lives saved and counting.

We offer free advice and support to parents and grandparents alike, through our online education materials and Safe Sleep Advice Line (1300 998 698).

If there’s a difference of opinion, you can count on us to offer impartial, evidence based advice.

Anyone can call us for advice on 1300 998 698 during business hours.

Set up a safe environment

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

The most important things to ensure baby is always placed to sleep on their back, and that there are no loose items in the cot, and nothing covering their head or face.

Beanies are cute and keep little heads warm, but they should always come off for sleep. Nanna has plenty of time to knit beanies as your child gets older!

Share the load

Grandparents do have lots of 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.

Share our special Grandparents and Safe Sleeping video

We have created a special Grandparents video which explains what has changed since you were a baby and how to practice safe sleep. Send them the link or watch it together and then talk about you both learned.

For more advice and tips, visit our Advice Hub or call our Safe Sleep Educators on 1300 998 698 (during business hours).

Last modified: 24/10/20