As parents, we know how important it is to you to keep your baby safe, but we also know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep!
Smart bassinets have gained popularity, claiming to offer improved sleep for infants. However, because these products are new and are still being studied, it is important to consider what is known about these products and where further evidence is still needed.
Red Nose advises placing babies on their back for sleep on a firm and flat surface, which has been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). This position allows for a clear airway and reduces the risk of accidental suffocation or overheating. However, there is no current peer-reviewed evidence supporting the use of restraints or positioners (such as those used in smart bassinets) to keep babies on their back during sleep. Therefore, the effectiveness of such devices in reducing SUDI risk remains uncertain.
One of the reasons that smart bassinets are so popular is that there is some evidence that they allow babies to sleep for longer, or to wake less frequently from sleep. However, an infants’ ability to awaken from sleep is considered protective against SUDI. It is not currently known how the use of devices that decrease waking (arousal) from sleep might impact on the risk of SUDI.
It is also uncertain at this stage how the regular use of restraining or positioning devices, including those found in smart bassinets, might impact on babies’ development. Specifically, it is unclear how devices that restrict movement may affect a baby’s ability to develop the strength and coordination necessary to move from the tummy (prone) position to the safer back (supine) position once they begin learning to roll.
Finally, for high-risk infants, such as those born premature or with low birth weight, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of smart bassinets or similar devices. These infants may have specific medical needs that require individualised sleep recommendations from healthcare professionals.
When considering the use of smart bassinets, it’s crucial to prioritise your baby’s safety based on current recommendations. While smart bassinets may offer potential advantages, the impact on SUDI risk and infant development is still uncertain. When in doubt, consult with healthcare professionals who can provide tailored guidance based on your baby’s specific needs and ensure a safe sleep environment.
Always remember that a bassinet is for short-term use only – you should move baby to a safe cot when they show signs of being able to roll. And 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.
For more information visit:
Bassinet article: https://rednose.org.au/article/bassinets
Bassinet Information Statement https://rednose.org.au/resources/education
Red Nose Safe Sleep recommendations: https://rednose.org.au/article/red-nose-six-safe-sleep-recommendations