Safe Toddler Sleep: Moving From Cot to Bed Safety Advice

This year’s Red Nose Day is taking place on the 26th June and SIDS and Kids are taking the opportunity to remind parents of the importance of ‘Cot-to-Bed Safety’, ensuring that the exciting but nerve-wracking step of moving children from cots to beds is carried out safely.

“Too many babies and toddlers are sustaining injuries from falling out of cots and beds.” says SIDS and Kids Australia CEO Associate Professor Leanne Raven.

During 2010-2011 over 20,000 children aged 0-4 years were hospitalised as a result of injuryi. Of these hospitalisations 879 were due to injuries from falls involving a type of bed product. However many more children were presented to emergency departments with injuries related to cotsii . These injuries may be due to either not recognising the appropriate time to move a baby or young child out of a cot, or a baby or young child being placed too early in an adult bed or being placed in an unsafe sleeping environment.

In December 2013, the Coroners Court of Victoria handed down the findings of an inquest into the death of a toddleriii. The toddler died from positional asphyxiation because the rails of the bed were too wide and the toddlers head became stuck.

SIDS and Kids produce a Cot-to-Bed Safety brochure and mobile app to simply present the Australian community with the best possible information on when to move a child from a cot to a bed, what type of bed to use, and how to provide a safe environment for a child.

Key Cot-to-bed safety advice includes:

  • Ideally use a mattress on the floor or toddler bed, if you have an adult bed ensure there are no spaces between bars or panels bigger than 95mm and keep the floor drop to a minimum and clear of objects
  • Keep dangling cords, strings and mobiles out of reach as they could get caught around a child’s neck.
  • Keep heaters, electrical appliances and access to power points well away to avoid the risk of overheating, burns and electrocution.
  • Ensure all furniture and TVs are attached with wall brackets so they cannot be readily tipped over.
  • Ensure stairs and windows are not accessible
  • Pay special attention to any other potential hazards that may result in falls, drowning, strangulation, entrapment or poisoning.

The Cot-to-Bed Safety brochure is available as a PDF for download and the free App is available for iPhone at the App Store and Android at Google Play.


i AIHW: Pointer S 2013, Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia, 1999-00 to 2010-2011. Injury research and statistics series no .86. Cat. No. INJCAT 162. Canberra: AIHW.

ii Monash University Injury Research Institute - Cot related injury to children (aged 0-4 years): Victoria July 2006 to June 2012

iii Name has been suppressed - Coroner Kim Parkinson, Coroner Court Victoria 5 December 2013.