Safe Toddler Sleep: Moving From Cot To Bed Safety Advice

Today, SIDS and Kids launched a brochure and mobile app, “Cot-to-Bed Safety”, designed to help parents make that exciting but nerve-wracking step of moving children from cots to beds.

Too many babies and toddlers are sustaining injuries from falling out of cots and beds. During 2010-2011 over 20,000 children aged 0-4 years were hospitalised as a result of injury. Of[i] these hospitalisations 879 were due to injuries from falls involving a type of bed product. However, many more children were presented to emergency departments with injuries related to cots[ii]. These injuries may be due to either not recognising the appropriate time to move a baby or young child out of a cot, or a baby or young child being placed too early in an adult bed or being placed in an unsafe sleeping environment.

“The launch of the Cot-to-Bed Safety brochure and mobile app is simply to present the Australian community with the best possible information on when to move a child from a cot to a bed, what type of bed to use, and how to provide a safe environment for a child,” says SIDS and Kids Australia CEO Associate Professor Leanne Raven.

In December 2013, the Coroners Court of Victoria handed down the findings of an inquest into the death of a toddler[iii]. The toddler died from positional asphyxiation because the rails of the bed were too wide and the toddlers head became stuck.

“Unfortunately there are still so many Australians who go through the heartbreak of a child dying unexpectedly. In memory of the toddler who died, SIDS and Kids are advocating for mandatory standards to be introduced for beds, including ensuring there are no gaps more than 95mm. These innovative resources will provide clear information for parents to help guide them to sleep toddlers safely,” says Associate Professor Raven.

SIDS and Kids uses evidence-based research about safe sleeping practices for the Cot-to-Bed Safety brochure and app, providing information on creating a safe sleeping environment for toddlers including the different types of bed options – mattress on the floor, a toddler bed, an adult bed – and how to make a home safe before the move.

Cot-to-Bed Safety is a valuable guide, focusing on four key areas:

  1. When to move your child out of a cot
  2. Where to sleep a child who has moved from a cot
  3. Making your home safe before the move
  4. Sleep young children safely

The Cot-to-Bed Safety brochure is available as a PDF for download at and the free App is available for iPhone at the App Store and Android at Google Play.

[i] AIHW: Pointer S 2013, Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia, 1999-00 to 2010-2011. Injury research and statistics series no .86. Cat. No. INJCAT 162. Canberra: AIHW.

[ii] Monash University Injury Research Institute – Cot related injury to children (aged 0-4 years): Victoria July 2006 to June 2012

[iii] Name has been suppressed – Coroner Kim Parkinson, Coroner Court Victoria 5 December 2013.

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