I am expecting my first baby in August and have been debating whether to get a sleep positioner or pod to put inside the co-sleeper bassinet - to help settle the baby and reduce flat head risk. I note that Red Nose advice is a categoric no, however also note that this post was from back in 2016 and products on the market will obviously have changed considerably since then. I have heard different things from new mums and doulas, with a lot of people saying a sleep pod is actually preferred to not having one. Would you be able to provide some information on the latest thinking? Many thanks
Red Nose Education
Red Nose recommends that baby is placed for sleep in a cot that meets Mandatory Australian Standards, placed on their back on a firm clean well-fitting & flat mattress.
We know that this is safest for babies & is the most effective way to manage baby’s airways.
A bassinet may also be suitable provided it meets the general guidelines recommended by Product Safety Australia (ACCC) & Red Nose
There are a lot of portable sleep spaces on the market, which do not meet the Safe Sleep guidelines, including a number of safety concerns about pods & nests & on how they are used.
These include soft, padded sides & soft base & minimal height on sides.
Product Safety recommends sides of a bassinet should be 300mm high
Never place additional items in or around the cot, such mobiles, pillows (of any kind), bumpers, lambs wool, nests, positioners or thick loose bedding, even if the advertising looks enticing.
Many of the pods/nests/co-sleepers have soft padded (cushioned) sides.(similar to a cot bumper)
Soft bedding is dangerous in a cot and should not be used. Soft bedding includes pillows, quilts, doonas, soft toys and bumpers. Soft bedding may cover the baby’s face and obstruct breathing and/or cause overheating.
Lullaby Trust, our colleagues in UK, provides the following information about pods & nests:
Pods/nests Pods or nests are a softer type of sleep surface sometimes used instead of or in addition to a mattress, with areas that are raised or cushioned.
When sleeping, babies shouldn’t lie on or have anything soft around them, particularly their heads, as this can cause them to overheat and increases the risk of SIDS.
Soft, squishy materials can also cover baby’s mouth and nose if they are pressed against it.
Information on Sleep Positioners remains the same. evidence points to the risk of baby being restrained during sleep can be unsafe, as babies can get stuck when trying to wriggle, squirm or roll.
The best ways to reduce “flat head” is by doing tummy time from birth when awake & minimising amount of time baby spends on their back when awake.