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A room that holds a sleeping baby can seem like the most peaceful place on earth.
So it’s easy for new parents to think no harm will come to their sleeping baby.
But every year in Australia, about 130 babies die unexpectedly in their sleep due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Although the exact cause of these deaths is unknown, researchers think it has to do with the ability of some babies to rouse from sleep if, for some reason, they have difficulty breathing.
Leading authority on SIDS, Red Nose Australia, has formulated six recommendations for safe sleep practices for babies less than 12 months old. They are:
What is a safe sleeping environment?
Although babies can fall asleep anywhere, it is important that they be moved to a safe sleeping environment as soon as possible.
A safe sleeping environment:
When placing baby in the cot:
Should I swaddle my baby?
Many parents will recognise that wrapping or swaddling is a useful way of helping baby settle and stay asleep. It has also been shown to improve the baby’s stability and may help them remain on their back.
But when choosing to wrap a baby, parents must consider the baby’s stage of development. It is very important to stop wrapping baby as soon as they start showing signs of rolling over. This is often when the baby is between four and six months of age but some babies will begin rolling over earlier.
You should never wrap a baby who is wearing a sleep suit.
How can I ensure my baby sleeps safely at childcare?
Childcare providers are required to comply with national laws and regulations that protect children from harm and hazards.
This means educators and service providers are legally obliged to follow the Red Nose recommendations for safe sleep practices, even when parents request otherwise.
The only situation in which safe sleeping practices may be modified at childcare is when parents supply the educator or service with a certificate from their doctor.
In this case, parents can talk to the service about conducting a risk assessment and risk minimisation plan for their baby.
Learn more about safe sleeping on the Red Nose website.