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By Casey De Farria
Casey De Farria
24 Sep, 2019

What is safe sleeping?

Recently, a CPR Kids follower contacted us with concerns over certain sleep-aiding products available in the market. These products come with promises such as “long sleep” or “safe sleep” for babies when in actual fact, there is no evidence that they adhere to the Australian Safety Standards (a great summary of the standards in place can be found on the ACCC Product Safety site).

As we know, sleep deprivation is tough, and it makes products like this all the more alluring – but practicing safe sleep standards is vital.

So what is safe sleep? Why is it important?

A safe sleeping environment, according to Red Nose Australia, “means that all potential dangers have been removed and the baby is sleeping in a safe place. The ideal place for a baby to sleep is in a safe cot, on a safe mattress, with safe bedding in a safe sleeping place, both night and day.”

An unsafe sleeping arrangement can increase the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents. SIDS remains the most common category of deaths between one month and one year of age.

There are some important things to practice to ensure a safe sleep environment;

  • Baby should be put down to sleep on their back, with feet close to the bottom end of the cot or bassinet.
  • Head and face should remain uncovered.
  • Baby should be in a smoke-free environment before and after birth.
  • A safe bassinet and cot are vital (they must meet Australian Standard AS2172 which will be present on labeling).
  • No soft or bulky bedding – such as pillows, bumpers, blankets, and toys.
  • Ensure if you are wrapping baby, you are always doing so safely.
  • Breastfeed baby.
  • A safe bassinet in the parents’ room is recommended for the first 6 – 12 months.
  • Never leave your baby sleeping unsupervised in a pram, stroller or bouncinette.
  • It is also recommended that cots and bassinets are purchased as new for use, and not second hand.

More information on the above can be found on the Healthy WA Government site.

If you choose to co-sleep, it is important to be aware of circumstances that can make this unsafe. This includes when you or your partner;

  • Are very tired or unwell
  • Have consumed alcohol
  • Smoke
  • Have taken any medication or drugs that make you sleepy or less aware
  • Had a baby that was premature or small for their gestational age

Red Nose has put together a great guide with tips on how to co-sleep safely.

Always be wary of ads with baby sleep aid products and set-ups, that make promises that sound too good to be true. When purchasing products and setting up your babies sleeping arrangement, always keep the above in mind and ensure products comply with Australian Safety standards – look for the label that states that they do.

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