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Expert Advice

RED NOSE DAY: The best safe sleeping practices for babies

Providing a safe sleeping environment for babies can literally be a matter of life and death.

Safe sleeping techniques and the education efforts behind Red Nose Day have reduced Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) related deaths by 85 percent.
Providing a safe sleeping environment for babies can literally be a matter of life and death.
Sydney's sleep expert Cheryl Fingleson from Cheryl the Sleep Coach says: "Whilst we are not in the business of scaring new parents, who are already overwhelmed by the birth of their new baby, it's vitally important that everyone is reminded of the need to put baby to bed safely."
Over the past 25 years we have seen a dramatic decline of infant deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
This is in part due to the fantastic educational efforts of initiatives such as Red Nose Day, and the community response to expert messages advising them on safe sleep techniques.
"It is imperative that babies and toddlers get the right amount of sleep, and that they sleep safely," says Cheryl Fingleson.
"It is vital for growth, development, health and happiness. I always advise my clients' to take control of their babies' sleep safety straight away. There are plenty of tools available to improve sleep and settling.
"And if parents can't do it alone, there is plenty of professional help on hand too. Don't be afraid to ask for help!"
Sleep coach, Cheryl Fingleson says parents should know that they don't have to feel like they're struggling through the journey on their own, and can always get help from a trained professional. (Image: Supplied)

Sleep coach, Cheryl Fingleson's safe sleeping tips

Fingleson reminds new parents that there are some simple but proven tools to keep baby secure, warm and safe as he or she learns the challenging art of sleeping well.
1. Sleep baby on their back from birth – never on their tummy or side
  • Babies up to one year of age should always be placed on their back to sleep during naps and at night.
  • If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or infant sling, she should be moved to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible.
  • Swaddling is a proven method of calming a crying or fussy baby. Place the wrapped baby at the bottom of the cot with his feet almost touching the bottom railing.
2. Use appropriate bedding
  • When using bedding, put baby's feet at the end of the cot then only bring bedding up to the chest.
  • Never allow the baby's face to become covered.
  • When using a sleeping bag, make sure it is the right size for your baby and the right thermal rating for the season.
WATCH: Baby sleep & settling by Bounty. Continues after video ...
3. Avoid exposing baby to tobacco smoke before and after birth
  • If you smoke, try to quit. And if you can't, keep your car and home smoke-free. Never smoke anywhere near your baby, even if you are outside.
4. Sleep baby in the same room, but not in the same bed
  • If it works for both baby and parents, room sharing is a safe thing to do.
  • Keep the cot or bassinet within an arm's reach of your bed. You can easily watch or breastfeed your baby by having your baby nearby.
  • It is not ideal to sleep in the same bed as a newborn. This places them at greater risk of SIDS, suffocation, or strangulation. Parents can roll onto babies during sleep, or babies can get tangled in the sheets or blankets.
It's a good idea to keep the cot or bassinet within an arm's reach of your bed. (Image: Getty Images)
5. Provide a safe sleeping environment for baby night and day.
  • The cot, bassinet, porta-cot, and mattress should meet current safety standards. Never use a cot that is broken or has missing parts.
  • Cover the mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and fitted sheet.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on a play rocker, a water-bed, a cushion, or a sheepskin.
  • Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, bumper pads, and stuffed toys are risky and should not be left in the unattended cot of a young baby.
  • Don't allow baby to become too hot.

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