Q&A Forum



Hello, I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and am looking into purchasing a sleeping bag for my newborn. I've noticed there are some that allow the hands to be up near the head (while still secured under the bag), and others that have the hands down by the side. Is there one style that is safer than another?

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Posted a response on 25/1/19

Red Nose

Hi Katie,

There are 2 types of “sleep bags” - one is a type of swaddle (arms enclosed) the other a sleeping bag (arms out).

If you are referring to swaddle bag/swaddling the Red Nose has the following information about swaddling.

“Use only lightweight wraps such as cotton or muslin (bunny rugs and blankets are not safe alternatives as they may cause overheating).

The wrap should be firm, to prevent loose wrapping becoming loose bedding. However the wrap should not be too tight and must allow for hip and chest wall movement.

Make sure that baby is not over dressed under the wrap. Use only a nappy and singlet in warmer weather and add a lightweight grow suit in cooler weather.

Modify the wrap to meet the baby’s developmental changes, e.g. arms free once ‘startle’ reflex begins to disappear which is usually around 3 months; (Moro or ‘startle’ reflex should have disappeared completely by 4-5 months).

As soon as a baby shows signs of beginning to roll, wrapping should be discontinued for sleep periods. https://rednose.org.au/article/wrapping-babies

Information is also provided in this article about Infant sleeping bags & Infant swaddle products.

“An alternative to wrapping is to use a safe infant sleeping bag; one with a fitted neck and armholes that is the right size for the baby’s weight. Clothing can be layered underneath the sleeping bag according to climate conditions.

Parents are also advised to follow any safety advice that accompanies any infant wrapping or swaddle products they purchase, but to be aware that there is very little evidence available that supports the choice of one product over another.

All sleeping attire designed to cover the baby’s shoulders should have separate neck and arm holes or should ensure that they do not allow the face covering if the baby was to move their arms in different positions.”

Please read the full article linked above for all information that is important in making decisions about swaddles/sleeping bag.

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