Safe Sleeping Recommendations

Safe Sleeping Recommendations

Sometimes, less is more! It's so easy to get carried away decorating your baby's nursery, but in reality you don't need much, especially when it comes to their sleep space. Below are some recommendations on how to best follow the safe sleep guidelines.

Choose a safe cot

Cots sold in NZ should meet the latest Australian and New Zealand Safety Standard (AS/NZS 2172:2003). Only use a cot that is clearly and correctly labelled with this standard. Second-hand cots may not meet the standard. For example, the gap between cot bars may be too wide.

Drop-sides on cots need to be checked regularly and are one of the most likely parts on a cot to become unsafe over time. While all drop-side cots sold in NZ and Australia should meet the safety standard, parents should regularly check the mechanism works safely and reliably. Drop-side cots are now illegal in some countries due to safety concerns. Ensure you drop the mattress to the lower setting when your baby is close to sitting up.

Choose a safe mattress that fits your cot

If your mattress is centered in the cot there should not be a gap greater than 20mm, or if you push to one side and one end, there should be no more than a 40mm gap. The distance from the top of the mattress to the top of the lowest side when the dropside is closed should be at least 500mm when the base is in the lowest position, and at least 300mm in the upper position.

Baby mattresses should be a firm surface, without added toppers or sheepskins. Ensure your mattress has been tested in accordance and met the voluntary standard: AS/NZS 8811.1:2013 Methods of testing infants products, Method 1: Sleep Surfaces – test for firmness.

Remember to remove all plastic packaging before using the mattress!

Position the mattress flat, rather than elevated or tilted. 

Remove any potential dangers from in and around the cot

Padded cot bumpers, pillows & cushions, lambs wools, soft toys, blankets or loose bedding are a potential suffocation risk and should not be used until over 18 months of age. 

Keep baby’s cot away from hanging cords such as blinds, curtains, or electrical appliances as they could get caught around baby’s neck. Keep heaters or any electrical appliances well away from the cot to avoid the risk of overheating, burns and electrocution. Never use electric blankets, hot water bottles or wheat bags for babies.

Make sure your baby's head and face remains uncovered during sleep. No hats or hoods in bed. 

Always place baby down on their back

Always place your baby on their back to sleep. It is recommended to sleep baby on their back until they are easily rolling from front to back. 

Position your baby's feet at the bottom of the cot, to avoid baby from wriggling down under the sheets and covers. 

Do not leave your baby unattended on an adult bed or bunk bed, or place them on a waterbed, beanbag, couch, pillow or cushion, or with a sleeping adult or child on a couch, sofa or chair.

Safe Bedding and Sleepwear

Mattress protectors and sheets should be, breathable and fit securely.

If your newborn is sleeping swaddled, ensure you are using a well-fitting swaddle made from natural fibre, which doesn’t come undone or ride up by baby’s face.

If a baby is becoming un-swaddled during the night, it is safest to either stop swaddling or choose an escape-proof swaddle such as one with a zip front. Babies should no longer be swaddled once they are close to rolling due to a much higher SIDS risk with tummy sleeping when swaddled.

Sheets and blankets should be tucked in firmly, no higher than armpit height. Any blankets used should be a natural fibre, such as merino, wool, tencel or cotton. Using merino or tencel is particularly recommended, as they can help with temperature regulation.

Avoid using any type of synthetic bedding such as polar fleece blankets in your baby’s bed, as these can lead to overheating. 

Once your baby is mobile, a sleeping bag is a much safer option than loose blankets. This means there is no loose bedding to wriggle under or be pulled up over baby’s face. 

Sleeping bags also mean that baby is much less likely to wake up cold as the sleeping bag can’t be kicked off in the way blankets can be.

The safest option is to use a sleeping bag without anything added over the top. The correct weight of sleeping bag is all the bedding needed, and you can adjust the clothing used inside the sleeping bag according to the room temperature.

Make sure your baby's head and face remains uncovered during sleep. No hats or hoods in bed. 

Bedding and sleepwear should depend on the room temperature and your baby. Regularly check the temperature of your baby by feeling his or her back, or ears with the back of your hand. It should feel warm, not hot and sweaty, or cold. Add a layer of clothing/bedding if it feels cold and remove a layer of clothing/bedding if it feels hot. 

Room Temperature

The ideal temperature for a nursery is 18°C. Using a room thermometer can help you accurately monitor the temperature in your baby's room and avoid baby becoming too warm. 

Parents can be tempted to make a room really warm in the winter, however, it is best to dress baby appropriately and have the bedroom no warmer than 20°C for safe and comfortable sleep.

Questions? Email us and we'll do our best to help you out!

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