Cute toy? Whatever you do, don’t put it in your baby’s cot

Why are soft toys in my baby’s cot a safety risk? Red Nose Chief Health Advisor Jane Wiggill explains the do’s and don’ts of having soft toys in your bubs’ sleep environment.

Having soft toys in your baby's sleep environment is a suffocation risk

We often get asked why we don’t recommend keeping toys in your baby’s cot.

While they may look cute, toys pose a serious suffocation risk, Red Nose Chief Health Advisor and Registered Midwife Jane Wiggill explains.

“The risk posed by suffocation by the presence of toys in the cot, especially soft toys, far outweighs any benefit to the baby from a soft toy,” Jane says.

“Soft toys can cover your baby’s nose and mouth, interfering with breathing.”

However, you can introduce a soft toy into your baby’s sleep environment once they are between seven to ten months of age. “This is called a transitional object,” Jane explains.

A baby is more likely to begin interacting with objects between the ages of seven to ten months.

“A soft toy introduced into the sleep environment between seven and ten months can provide comfort and connection at times when your baby is separated from you, such as at sleep times.

“But always remove the toys once baby has settled for sleep.”

A soft toy before seven months is unnecessary, Jane explains, because babies under seven months of age are not engaged in exploring objects in their sleeping environment.

“They are also developmentally too young to take comfort from a soft toy, when separated from their care giver.”

However, Jane advises, it is never recommended to have soft bedding and bumpers in a cot environment, even once a transitional object has been introduced.

“Soft bedding such as lambs’ wool, doonas, and pillows can suffocate a baby, especially once they start to roll and move around.

“When your baby is old enough to move into a bed, you can introduce bedding and a pillow, but seek advice before doing so,” Jane advises.

March is Red Nose Safe Sleeping Month.

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