Resources for Health Professionals

What is SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping program?

The SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping campaign is an evidence based campaign aiming to reduce the rates of SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents in Australia.

The campaign was developed following the Forum to review the risk factors for SIDS, March 1987, convened by the National SIDS Council of Australia. This forum was attended by researchers, scientists, SIDS experts and pathologists from Australia and overseas.

The forum was convened to review the evidence and guidelines on how to reduce the risk factors for SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents. The end result of this forum was the highly successful SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping program.

To ensure our research in the field of sudden and unexpected death in infants remains current SIDS and Kids has formed a National Scientific Advisory Group (NSAG) which has members from across Australia. This group also consults with international experts when required.

SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping Message:

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

2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered

3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after

4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day

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

6. Breastfeed baby


Young, Jeanine; Watson, Karen; Ellis, Louise and Raven, Leanne. Responding to evidence: Breastfeed baby if you can – the sixth public health recommendation to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy [online]. Breastfeeding Review, Vol. 20, No. 1, Mar 2012: 7-15.


Abundant evidence recognises breastfeeding as being associated with significant short and long term health benefits for both infant and mother. Until recently, the role of breastfeeding as an independent factor in reducing risk for sudden unexpected infant death remained unclear. In October 2010, SIDS and Kids Australia held a consensus forum with international researchers and key stakeholders to review current evidence relating to safe infant sleeping recommendations. Following this forum and the publication of key reviews, the SIDS and Kids National Scientific Advisory Group has supported the decision that a critical threshold had been reached within the evidence that is supportive of breastfeeding as a specific risk reduction measure for sudden unexpected death in infancy. A sixth recommendation, Breastfeed baby if you can, will be included in the 2012 SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping national public health campaign.

To purchase the full text:

Alternatively download the full text free of charge via the National Library of Australia (You need to be a registered NLA user. Registration is free to Australian residents)

Why is it important for Health Professionals to inform their patients about the program?

Health Professionals are often the first and most important point of contact for new parents. They model sleeping practices while the baby is in hospital and provide further information to parents once the baby is at home. Parents rely on Health Professionals to provide reliable information and all Health Professionals should be directing their patients to the SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping Program.


Interview with Professor Heather Jeffery, member of the SIDS and Kids National Scientific Advisory Group (NSAG) on providing current information on SIDS and safe sleeping.

Alert: Dangers of Using Baby Bean Bags as Bedding

April 2013

The rising popularity of baby bean bags has prompted the Queensland Office of Fair Trading to issue a warning about the potential risks associated with these products.

Office of Fair Trading product safety expert David Strachan said bean bags of any kind should never be used for a baby to sleep or nap in, as this could cause suffocation.

“The polystyrene beads that fill the bean bag can contour around a baby’s face, blocking the airways,” Mr Strachan said.

“Bean bags should only be used under the strictest supervision for babies under 12 months of age. Babies should only be placed to sleep or nap in a cot that meets Australian Standards.”

The warning is also supported by SIDS and Kids’ new information statement ‘Sleeping Position for Babies with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR)’.

This information statement speaks to the evidence that:

– Babies with GOR should be placed to sleep on their back from birth on a firm, flat mattress that is not elevated.

– Elevating the sleeping surface for back sleeping babies does not reduce gastro oesophageal reflux and is not recommended

View the information statement ‘Sleeping Position for Babies with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR)’ here.

The Office of Fair Trading’s media statement can be downloaded here.

Literature and Support aimed at Health Professionals

SIDS and Kids has literature available for Health Professionals both for their own reference and to give out to their patients. This literature includes:

A series of information statements covering a range of topics including breast feeding, baby monitoring, pacifier/dummy use, plagiocephaly (baby’s head shape), room sharing, room temperature, second hand mattress, sleeping with baby, smoking, toxic gas theory and wrapping infants. Information Statements can be downloaded in PDF format by accessing your topic of interest from the links below:

Baby’s Head Shape

Bedding Amount Recommended For Safe Sleep

Breastfeeding and the Risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy

Cobedding Twins

Home Monitoring


Using a Dummy or Pacifier

Pillow Use

Reflux – Sleeping Position for Babies with Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux


Room Temperature

Second Hand Mattress Use

Sharing a Sleep Surface With a Baby


Soft Toys in the Cot

Toxic Gas


SIDS and Kids and Queensland Health have a partnership whereby we are able to share safe sleeping resources that have been developed by the Chairperson of the SIDS and Kids National Scientific Advisory Group Professor (Adj) Jeanine Young. Queensland Health’s Professor Young was the author of Safe Infant Care Policy Statement and Guidelines and SIDS and Kids is very grateful for her support.

To access the resources in PDF format click on the links below:

Safe Infant Sleeping Policy Statement and Guidelines.pdf

Safe Sleeping Brochure for Health Professionals.pdf *

* the above resource is being updated to include the recommendation ‘Breastfeed Baby’. In 2012 SIDS and Kids revised its guidelines for reducing the risk of sudden and unexpected infant death. According to research, breastfeeding babies more than halves the chances of a baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly.

Head Shape Brochure for Health Professionals.pdf

Supine is Safest Poster for Health Professionals.pdf

TummyTime_Poster for Health Professionals.pdf

Wrapping Poster for Health Professionals.pdf

Safe Sleeping Literature and Support available for Health Professionals, Carers and New and Expectant Mothers

Safe Sleeping Literature and Support information can be downloaded by clicking 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


An Aboriginal Resource from the Northern Territory

Taking Care of your Baby.pdf

Safe Infant Sleeping | e-learning education package for health professionals

The Safe Infant Sleeping e-learning education package has been developed in partnership with Queensland Health and SIDS and Kids.  Professor (Adj) Jeanine Young, Chairman, SIDS and Kids National Scientific Advisory Committee has driven the process and worked closely with all parties including the Queensland Government Skills Development Centre.  The program is available for Health Professionals including midwives, nurses, allied health and medical staff, Indigenous Health workers, parents, carers and childcare workers.

The e-learning package will be reviewed after 12 months before being made available nationally through the SIDS and Kids website, however, the education package is currently available at the site listed below.

SIDS and Kids is a national not-for-profit organisation that relies on the support of the community to deliver our infant safe sleeping and bereavement support services to the community. Please donate to SIDS and Kids to help save more babies lives by clicking the red donate button on the left of your screen before you commence your training.

Registration for e-learning:

The Safe Infant Sleeping education package is available at no cost to health professionals, carers and childcare workers by clicking the link below:


This workshop is endorsed by Royal College of Nursing, Australia (RCNA) according to
approved criteria.  Attendance attracts 5 RCNA CNE points as part of
RCNA’s Life Long Learning Program (3LP)

Keeping Baby Safe : a guide to infant and nursery products

This booklet is an Australian Government publication providing information to help you make sure your child’s nursery is a safe place. The current version was released in 2013 and is available to order or to download from the Australian Competition and Consumer website here.


For further information contact SIDS and Kids in your State or Territory on 1300 308 307.

ASK Online

What is ASK Online?

ASK Online is an extensive library catalogue of research papers complied by SIDS and Kids since it was established in the late 1970s.

The library catalogue is extensive with over forty major topics including co-sleeping, bereavement, epidemiology, smoking, stillbirth, sleeping positions, sudden infant death and grief.

The collection contains scientific articles, research reports, conference abstracts, bibliographies, newsletter articles, book chapters and media releases.

How do I access ASK Online?

Contact our Librarian on:


Telephone: +61 (03) 8888 1600

Fax: +61 (03) 8888 1691

A search on your topic of interest will be performed on your behalf.

ASK Online includes all manner of published literature. SIDS and Kids does not necessarily agree with the theories, conclusions, advice or other contents of the catalogue and accepts no responsibility for how searchers understand or make use of the information.

To talk with a SIDS and Kids Health Professional or to order Safe Sleeping information and resources contact SIDS and Kids in your state or territory on 1300 308 307.

ANZSA Clinical Practice Guideline  |  Management of Women who report Decreased Fetal Movement

The ANZSA Clinical Practice Guideline for the management of women who report decreased fetal movement was recently endorsed by SIDS and Kids.  A collaborative process was adopted in the development of the guideline which will ensure it is of the utmost relevance and usefulness to clinicians.

To download a PDF copy click on the link DFM Guideline Edition 1 – Version 1 March 2010.pdf

Last modified: 31 August 2015
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