With so many products on the market, it can be easy to get confused about what babies should sleep in or on. Remember, the safest mattresses for your baby are firm and flat and protected by a waterproof cover.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is on their own sleep surface, in the same room as you, for at least the first six months. A Moses basket or cot is a safe place for a baby to sleep.
Use a firm, flat and waterproof mattress in good condition
You should use a firm and flat mattress that is protected by a waterproof cover. This will help keep the mattress clean and dry, as the cover can be wiped down.
Make sure your baby’s mattress is in good condition and that it fits the Moses basket or cot properly.
Avoid using soft or bulky bedding
Firmly tucked in sheets and blankets (not above shoulder height) or a baby sleep bag are safe for a baby to sleep in. Be sure to remove any soft toys from the cot before each sleep period.
Sleep your baby in the feet-to-foot position and avoid using soft or bulky bedding such as quilts, pillows and duvets.
Pillows can increase the risk of SIDS
Pillow use alone has been shown to increase the chance of SIDS occurring by up to 2.5 times. If you were thinking of using a pillow with your baby due to concerns for plagiocephaly (or ‘flat head syndrome’). There are techniques you can use that could help plagiocephaly which will not increase the risk of SIDS.
We understand that plagiocephaly usually corrects itself within a year, but if you feel it is severe you may want to speak to your health professional or seek corrective treatment.
Find out more about our advice for a clear cot here.
We advise that babies have plenty of supervised tummy time in their waking hours to minimise time spent on their back, and you should also avoid letting babies sleep in harder contained sleep environments such as car seats and other travel systems.
Our advice for using second-hand mattresses
It can be common to use a second-hand mattress either from friends and family, or from your previous children. There is some research that found an increased chance of SIDS when using a second-hand mattress brought in from outside of the family home, although the link is not yet proven.
To help reduce this risk, if you are using a second-hand mattress make sure the mattress you choose was previously completely protected by a waterproof cover, with no rips or tears and is in good condition. The mattress should also still be firm and flat to keep your baby sleeping safely.
Remove cot bumpers
Cot bumpers can pose the risk of an accident to your baby once they begin to roll and move about the cot. There have been a number of cases in the UK and abroad where infants have become entangled in the ties and material, or fallen from pulling themselves up on the bumpers.
A simple mattress in your cot with no loose bedding or bumpers is the safest sleeping place for a baby. Find out more about our advice on cot bumpers here.