Safety First for Sleeping Babies

Some sleeping arrangements for babies can be very dangerous and increase the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy. The SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping message informs parents and health professionals about how to reduce these risks and create a safe sleeping environment for babies.  Since the introduction of the safe sleeping education program in the early 90’s,  the number of sudden infant deaths in Australia has decreased by over 85%.

‘Recent media about co-sleeping with a baby in an adult bed can be confusing if researchers only mention the advantages of sleeping with a baby and do not talk about the known risks. If parents are to make an informed choice they need to consider the risks as well’, Leanne Raven, CEO of SIDS and Kids Australia said today.

There are some very unsafe sleeping environments for babies that increase the risk of sudden infant death and fatal sleeping accidents and parents need to be aware of them.

  • If a parent who is a smoker sleeps with a baby and if the baby is under 11 weeks of age, preterm or small for dates the risks increase substantially.
  • It is dangerous to sleep with baby if you are affected by alcohol or drugs, or sedating medication or if you are very tired and cannot respond to the baby.
  • Taking a baby into the adult bed may be unsafe if baby gets caught under adult bedding or pillows, or is left alone on an adult bed.
  • Sleeping on a couch or sofa with a baby is extremely dangerous.

‘Experts agree that it is important for parents to be in close sensory contact with their baby and they also agree that a cot or bassinet next to the parents bed achieves this closeness.’ Ms Raven said.

SIDS and Kids recommends that after feeding and cuddles, baby is placed into their own separate and safe sleeping place, next to the parents’ bed. For more information about Safe Sleeping visit the SIDS and Kids website on


For further information or interviews, please contact:

Chris DiPetta, SIDS and Kids Australia

Ph: (03) 9819 4595 or 0413 570 287.  Email:

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