Setting up a Safe Nursery

Setting up your nursery for your new baby’s arrival is an exciting time for parents, but it can be hard to know where to begin.

A good starting point to keep in mind is where and how to prepare baby for their safe sleep space.


Red Nose recommends that a baby should be placed to sleep in their own safe sleep space, in the parent/carers room for the first 6 months. Research shows that sharing the same room can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 50%.

Purchasing items

When purchasing items, here’s some sage advice on making safer choices so you can rest easy knowing your sleeping beauty is in a safer sleep space.

1. Purchase equipment that meets Australian Safety Standards:

The safest place to sleep your baby is a cot or a portable cot because all new, old/second hand and portable cots sold in Australia must meet the current Australian and New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS 2172 and AS/NZS 2195).

Look for a label or sticker on the cot, packaging or instructions that verifies the cot complies with the mandatory safety standard and when in doubt, ask the provider for evidence. Never place your baby in a cot or portable cot that does not meet these standards.

Important information about bassinets:

Parents may also prefer to use a bassinet as they take up less room than a cot in the parent bedroom in those early months of baby’s life. But unlike cots, there are no Australian safety standards for bassinets, so it’s important for parents to know what to look out for when choosing and using a bassinet.

Babies grow fast and will grow out of a bassinet as early as a couple of months old.

Once your baby can roll over, has outgrown or can pull themselves up the side of the bassinet, usually around 4-6 months, it is advised that bassinets should not be used. To find out more about keeping baby safe in a bassinet or cot refer to the ACCC Baby Product Safety Guide and the resources available at

2. Purchase the basics – babies don’t need a lot to get started!

Simplicity is key when you are looking to make purchases for baby.

When considering a safer sleep space for baby, purchase a cot/portable cot that that is clean with no signs of wear and tear with a firm, flat mattress that is the right size for the cot.

Don’t forget to grab lightweight bedding while you’re at it – some muslin or cotton wraps or perhaps you are choosing to sleep your baby in an infant sleeping bag. Infant sleeping bags allow baby’s arms to be free to move and reposition themselves to help protect their airways. Choose the right size for your baby, fitting well around the neck and arm holes, and is the appropriate tog (thickness) for the temperature of the sleeping environments.

It is important not to overheat your baby, choosing light weight fabrics for bedding and clothing with light layers adjusted according to your baby’s needs, is the best option. Remember your baby’s head and face must remain uncovered, so no hoods or head coverings should be on baby when placed to sleep.

If you’re thinking about car and getting out and about with your little one, you may consider purchasing a pram and a car restraint.

3. Use equipment as it was intended

Babies don’t need fancy equipment to keep them safe. However, to remain safe and compliant with safety standards they do need equipment to be used in the way it was intended.

For example, a baby bouncer/chair is intended to be used while a baby is awake and under constant supervision, it is not intended to be used for sleep. If incorrectly used the item becomes unsafe, creating an inclined, chin on chest, sleep position, dramatically increasing their risk of SUDI. Click here to read more on inclined sleep.

So remember to always use your equipment in a safe way – the way they were designed to be used.

Never leave babies unattended in prams, bouncers, car seats, capsules or any other inclined device. None of these devices were designed as dedicated sleep spaces and are dangerous for baby if left alone.

4. Don’t add any unnecessary and unsafe items in or around the cot

With the seemingly endless stream of new products on the market that make enticing claims (many unsubstantiated) about safety, comfort and restoration of long-lost sleep for parents, it can be very tempting to make purchases to add to your baby’s sleep space.

Remember, the safest way to sleep baby is in a cot or a portable cot, on the mattress that came with the cot, with safe bedding, free of mobiles, pillows (of any kind), soft toys, bumpers, lambswool, nests, positioners or thick loose bedding, even if the child is older than twelve months of age. Adding items to the sleep space adds risks to your baby.

5. Look up, look down, look all around

Look around the cot – are there any hanging cords, blinds, clocks or wall hangings such as bunting, pictures or canopies that could pose a danger to your baby or child? Ensure the cot is moved right away from these hazards with any loose cords securely fastened to prevent accidental strangulation or asphyxiation.

Another important thing to think about is ensuring furniture such as shelving or drawers are positioned away from the cot and secured to the wall or floor to prevent accidental tipping. You can purchase wonderful products that helps to ensure the drawers remain in place and little fingers can’t get trapped. Position items away from the cot so they cannot be used to climb on, increasing the risk of falls or be pulled into your baby’s sleep space, such as blankets, toys or pillows. Always do a room sweep to make sure no pets or other children are left in the room with your baby when unsupervised.

If you have older children, this is especially important as there is still a risk of slips, trips and falls in this age group. See our cot to bed information.

Follow our other tips for a safer nursery setting

  • Choose a cot or a portable cot that meets Australian and New Zealand Standards for Safety.
  • Use a firm, flat, well-fitted clean mattress with no rips or tears.
  • Use simple and safe bedding – lightweight and made from natural fibres.
  • Safer sleep bags are well fitted across the chest and neck, allowing baby to have access to their arms, with no hoods or head coverings. They are great for all ages – even newborns, up until the child tries to walk.
  • Never place additional items in, above or around the cot, such mobiles, pillows (of any kind), soft toys, bumpers, lamb’s wool, nests, positioners or thick loose bedding.

Any questions? Call our Safe Seep Advice Line 1300 998 698.

Last modified: 24/1/24