Latest News & Alerts

ALERT! How firm should the mattress be?

April 2014

There is a new AS/NZS Voluntary Standard: Methods of testing infant products – Sleep surfaces – Test for firmness. Use a firm sleep surface that is compliant with this standard.

Dr Ron Somers from South Australia introduced in his research, ‘Safer Infant Sleep Surfaces: Defining the concept of “firm enough”: “The incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may have improved greatly, but a proportion of infants continue to die as the result of suffocation in sleep-related circumstances. In the USA, for example, the infant mortality rate attributed to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed increased four fold between 1984 and 2004. The reason for the increase is unknown. Some obvious risk factors remain to be addressed, including cot firmness, or more generally the firmness of any product intended primarily for infant use.

“As at this writing there are no national or international guidelines available to help consumers and regulators distinguish between the firmer and less firm ends of the infant-product spectrum. An increasing number of innovative products are coming onto the Australian market, some of which are clearly hazardous.  Whereas best practice in infant care specifies a “firm mattress”, there is presently no definition of what is firm enough.”

In 2013, an Australia/New Zealand Standard was published, the first such sleep surface firmness advice in the world. (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013.  Methods of testing infant products – Part 1: Sleep surfaces – Test for firmness).

SIDS and Kids will be updating our information to incorporate mention of the voluntary standard and encourage parents and carers to ask before they purchase a mattress or product to sleep baby on, “Is this firm enough? Is this product compliant with the new Voluntary Standard AS/NZS 8811.1:2013?”

For further information, Ron Somers has provided two online resources about ensuring adequate mattress firmness: the WikiHow site and the more recent two-minute YouTube video.

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.

Co-sleeping and SIDS

Watch an ABC News report on co-sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome here.

Dangers of hooded sleeping bags for babies

Watch the Nine News report on the dangers of hooded sleeping bags for babies here. Includes interview with SIDS and Kids CEO Leanne Raven.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a free telephone helpline and online service for pregnant women and new parents who have a baby up to 12 months of age.

Information and advice is provided on topics such as maternal nutrition, breast feeding, a baby’s development and sleeping habits as well as direction to related services including specialist and support services.

Women and their families who are facing other challenges, such as emotional distress, perinatal issues, and questions about pregnancy options, can also call the PBB helpline to be transferred to qualified counsellors. Counsellors are available from 7am to 12pm midnight daily, free of charge, to offer non-judgmental, confidential support.

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 or visit the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website.

SIDS and Kids is a partner of Healthdirect Australia, which provides the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline and website.

Using Baby Slings Safely

Carry with care: How to keep your baby safe in a sling is a short video about how to position your baby safely in a sling. View it on YouTube here. For more information and resources, including a flyer and poster, visit

For more information on Safe Sleeping contact SIDS and Kids in your State or Territory call 1300 308 307.

Keeping Baby Safe : a guide to infant and nursery products by the Australian Government

This 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 from the Australian Competition and Consumer website here in the following formats: PDF, eBook on iTunes, iPhone and iPad app.

You can also view the related video on cot safety here.


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

Last updated 14 April 2015

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