SIDS and Kids NT Health Promotion and Community Education

National Safe Sleeping Program

The decline of SIDS in western society has been attributed largely to changes in child care practices. Since the introduction in 1990 in Australia of a campaign to reduce the risks of SIDS,  there has been an 80% reduction in SIDS deaths.

The program provides parents, caregivers and health professionals with the latest information regarding safe sleeping practices for infants. Program resources include a brochures, posters, and an FAQ. These resources are distributed free of charge to hospitals, antenatal classes, maternal and child health nurses, doctors, child care centres and the community at large.

Download the resources by clicking on the images below:

Safe Sleeping Long Brochure Safe Sleeping Easy Read Safe Sleeping Poster Tummy Time Brochure

Tummy Time Poster Safe Wrapping Brochure Safe Wrapping Poster Safe Sleeping Door Hanger

Cot to Bed Safety Brochure

SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping app

SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping app is available free of charge.

Cot to Bed Safety app

The Cot to Bed Safety app for iPhone and Android provides 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.

The Taking Care of Your Baby program includes a resource kit, brochures, DVD and posters.

These resources are provided to all remote area health clinics across the Northern Territory free of charge.

Our Aboriginal program is particularly focused on ensuring that parents and professionals are not only aware of the recommendations to reduce the risks of SIDS but that certain sleep environments are unsafe for infants. Some circumstances of shared sleeping environments such as shared sleeping on a couch or adult bed are not safe. Fatal sleeping accidents can occur with bed sharing if an infant slips under bedding or pillows, is trapped under a parent, falls out of bed or becomes too hot. Bed sharing is especially a risk factor is a parent is a smoker or has been affected by drugs or alcohol.

Taking Care of your Baby.pdf

Taking Care of your Baby Poster.pdf

The taking care of baby program was developed in collaboration with various aboriginal organisations across the Northern Territory. The program explains ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and has been designed specifically for indigenous communities.

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant, which is unexpected in history and in which a thorough post mortem examination fails to demonstrate an adequate cause of death. SIDS is still the most common cause of death in infants between one month and one year.

The peak time for SIDS deaths to occur is between 2 and 4 months. Although it can happen to younger babies and older infants, it is rare in children over 12 months of age.

Whilst we do not know what causes SIDS or how to prevent it, research from Australia and overseas suggest some factors may reduce the risk of SIDS.

1. Sleep baby on the back to sleep from birth, not on the tummy or side

Sleeping on the back reduces the risk of SIDS. Tummy or side sleeping increases the risk of SIDS. Healthy babies placed to sleep on the back are less likely to choke on vomit than tummy sleeping infants.

2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered.

Keeping a baby’s face and head uncovered during sleep decreases the risk of SIDS. It is important that a baby does not get too hot while sleeping. Many babies who have died from SIDS were found with their heads and faces covered by bedding, which probably caused overheating and an increase in their arousal threshold. Sleeping on the tummy, too much clothing, heavy bedding, or a room that is too warm may also lead to overheating. Re-breathing by baby of expired air when the face or head is covered or obstructed may also contribute to SIDS.

3. Keep baby smoke free before and after birth.

Smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of SIDS, particularly if the mother smokes during the second or third trimester of her pregnancy. It is important that babies be kept in a smoke-free environment during pregnancy and after birth.

4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day

Check that you have a safe cot, safe mattress, safe bedding and a safe place to sleep day and night.

5. Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first 6-12 months

Parents are advised to share the same room with their baby during this period as this practice as shown to reduce the risk of sudden infant death. The room where baby sleeps should be smoke free. Studies have shown that room sharing facilitates a rapid response to a baby’s needs, more convenient settling and comfort of babies and closer parent-baby communication.

6. Breastfeed baby

It is important to remember that these are risk factors and not causes.

Download a copy of our FAQ in PDF format here : Safe Sleeping FAQ.pdf

Use the search function to look for information on any queries.

Grief Education

SIDS and Kids NT also plays an important role in the education of emergency responders, health professionals and the community to understand the complexities of grief and how all can play a role in making the road to surviving after the sudden and unexpected death of a child a little easier.

Our education program is based on the theoretical research of grief and importantly, draws on the knowledge and experiences of our families.

SIDS and Kids NT also provide the following education services:

  • Education workshops to health, child, social and emotional professionals, emergency response workers including police and ambulance, school and university students, child carers, mother’s groups, antenatal classes and other community groups.
  • Information help line for concerned parents (and others) seeking advice on childcare practices.
  • Distribution of educational materials to hospitals, health clinics, community groups, schools and individuals
  • Professional development seminars for heath professionals, midwives and medical practitioners.

To talk with us more about our Education and Bereavement Support Services call SIDS and Kids NT on (08) 8948 5311 or email us on

To order a Safe Sleeping Child Care Kit click here.

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