A safe mattress is one that is the right size for the cot, is firm, clean and in good condition and is placed flat (not tilted or elevated).
Right size: Ensure the mattress complies with the size and depth recommended by the manufacturer of the cot. A baby or toddler can get stuck in gaps between a poor fitting mattress and the cot sides. This is especially dangerous if their face is trapped and covered, or their neck is restricted in any way. Make sure there is no more than a 20mm gap between the mattress and the cot sides and ends
Firm: Use a firm sleep surface that is compliant with the new AS/NZS Voluntary Standard (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013 Methods of testing infant products – Sleep Surfaces - Test for firmness). For further information about ensuring adequate mattress firmness see here or watch the video.
A soft mattress or sleeping surface can increase the risk of sudden unexpected infant death if baby rolls over onto the tummy. Remove plastic packaging from the mattress and always make sure that the waterproof mattress protector is strong and a tight fit. Never put soft bedding under the bottom sheet, such as a sheepskin, as this makes the sleeping surface too soft. A pillow, cushion or sofa is not a safe mattress as they are too soft and increase the risk of sudden unexpected infant death.
In portable or ‘porta’ cots use the firm, clean and well-fitting mattress that is supplied with the portable cot. Don’t add additional padding under or over the mattress or an additional mattress.
Last modified: 13/6/17