Sleep and your child: zero to six years

Safe sleeping

It’s important to keep your baby safe while they sleep.

How to reduce SIDS risk

You can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents by doing the following:

  • from birth, put your baby on their back to sleep - never on their tummy or side
  • make up their cot from the bottom up, so their feet almost touch the end of the cot 
  • make sure their head cannot go under the bedclothes
  • use light bedding - no doonas, pillows, lamb’s wool, bumpers or soft toys, as these can make your baby too hot or cover their face
  • keep pets away when your child is sleeping - they could smother your baby
  • avoid exposing babies to tobacco smoke before birth and after - including on your clothes
  • use a safe cot, safe mattress, safe bedding - choose cots, beds and bedding that meet Australian standards
  • keep the cot away from curtain or blind cords
  • don’t use clothing that has long strings, ribbons or cords - less than 10cm long if a dummy is attached to clothing.

Where to put your baby to sleep

Sleep your baby in their own cot or bassinet next to your bed for the first six to twelve months of life.

It's best not to have them sleep with you as they may be rolled on or get tangled in bedding and suffocate.

Once you have finished feeding or playing with your baby in bed, put them in their cot - especially if you are:

  • a smoker
  • very tired
  • a heavy sleeper
  • very overweight
  • taking medicines that make you sleepy 
  • have been drinking alcohol.

Don’t sleep on a couch with your baby - their head can become caught between the seat and back.


Some babies settle better if wrapped in a light cotton cloth. Others do not. 

Make sure the wrapping is firm, but not too tight, so your baby can still bend their knees. 

Make sure they are not too hot. 

Once your baby can roll, stop wrapping them - there is a chance they could roll on to their face and suffocate.

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Last updated: 11 March 2016

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