Sleeping Baby Safely

Red Nose is reminding parents of evidence-based strategies for safer sleeping, including sleeping baby on the back, keeping baby’s head and face uncovered, and using safe bedding.

Sleeping baby on the back reduces the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). Put your baby on the back to sleep, from birth, on a firm, flat surface.

Your baby’s face and head needs to stay uncovered during sleep as this reduces the risk of SUDI. A good way to do this is to put baby’s feet at the bottom of the cot so that baby can’t slip down under the bedding.

Alternatively, use a safe baby sleeping bag – one with fitted neck and arm holes and no hood.

Ensure baby has no head coverings, such as bonnets, beanies, hats or hooded clothing.

Avoid using pillows, doonas, soft toys, cot bumpers or lambswools in the cot. Soft and puffy bedding is unnecessary and may cover baby’s face and obstruct baby’s breathing.

With cooler weather not far away, parents may be considering using more clothes or bedding to keep baby warm.

It is important to know that excessive clothing or bedding can lead to overheating, which has been found to be related to SUDI.

When determining the amount of bedding that can be safely placed on a baby, consider these factors:

  1. The room temperature where baby is sleeping.
  2. How hot does the baby feel? A good way to check baby’s temperature is to feel baby’s back or tummy (don’t worry if baby’s hands and feet feel cool - this is normal).
  3. Whether the baby has a cold or infection or another special need.
  4. Consider how many layers that you as the baby’s carer are wearing comfortably.

Babies manage heat loss very efficiently when placed on the back to sleep with the head uncovered.

To reduce the risk of SUDI, remember to follow Red Nose’s six safe sleeping recommendations:

  1. Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side
  2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered
  3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
  4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day
  5. Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months
  6. Breastfeed baby

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