Baby Sleep Products...That are NOT Safe for Sleep

Trigger warning: This article deals with the topic of infant death. It’s a tough topic, but it’s one that we felt was important to cover.
There’s something pretty confusing going on in the world of baby sleep. If you head into your local baby store, you’ll find lots of products that promise to help your baby sleep better. Sadly though, a lot of these products are actually not safe for sleep.
Using unsafe products can create a serious safety risk for your baby – and many baby products are not required to meet any safety standards before hitting the market.
In 2018, 112 Australian babies died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). This includes Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) and sleeping accidents.
To help you keep your precious little one safe during sleep, here are a few baby products that should never be used for sleep.
Cot bumpers are marketed as a way to help your baby stay comfortable inside the cot, and prevent their arms and legs from falling through the cot bars.
However, around the world, bumpers have been linked to numerous accidents and fatalities. Padded cot bumpers were recently banned in the United States, and can no longer be sold there. In Australia, Red Nose advise that cot bumpers should not be used.
There is the potential for babies and toddlers to suffocate against a bumper, or become tangled and strangled in a bumper or its ties. Cheeky toddlers may also attempt to use the bumper as a step when climbing out of the cot.
Your baby will get used to sleeping in a cot, and will often sleep soundly even if their arms and legs are poking between the cot bars. It may look uncomfortable, but babies can sleep well in some very funny positions!
Baby nests are a soft, padded and sometimes inclined, lounging cushion. They are often marketed as a way to create a womb-like feeling for your baby.
Sadly, these products have also been linked to numerous infant injuries and fatalities. The padded sides are a suffocation risk, and an inclined surface could cause an airway obstruction for your baby.
Due to safety concerns, some of these products have been recalled in Australia. Baby nests should only be used when your baby is awake, and fully supervised, during their play time.
Sleep positioners are designed to keep your baby in one place, and prevent them from rolling while they are asleep. There are no Australian safety standards for sleep positioners.
It’s important to support your little one’s growth and development. Babies will naturally start to roll their bodies around 4 to 6 months of age. Rolling is an important developmental milestone, and mastering their rolling enables your baby to progress through to crawling, sitting and pulling up to stand. How cool is that!
As babies are ready to roll, they will often become frustrated if something is preventing them from being able to move. You may find that trying to keep them in one particular position will actually disturb their sleep.
If your baby is getting close to rolling, be sure to offer them lots of floor time and rolling practice throughout the day.
Red Nose advise that if a baby can roll themselves onto their side or tummy during sleep, it is safe to leave them in that position. Always pop them onto their back when you first put them in their cot, and allow them to find their own sleeping position.
In Australia, there are no safety standards for bassinets. And what is more concerning is that in 2021, Choice Australia ran independent safety testing on 8 bassinets – and 5 of them failed!
Some of the identified safety risks included suffocation, wicker splinters and mattresses which were not firm enough.
It is not necessary to use a bassinet, and Red Nose advise that it is safe to sleep your newborn in their cot from day one.
That said, bassinets can be useful for saving space in your bedroom, or for moving around the house. If you choose to use a bassinet, then it’s important to do your research and use a bassinet which has rated well in safety testing.
Keen to find out more? Please visit the experts at Red Nose Australia for all of the latest recommendations and advice for safe sleep.
Bree Hewett is a certified and experienced Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant, and a passionate advocate for safe sleep. She’s also a Mum to one very cheeky toddler. Bree has worked with hundreds of babies, helping tired families become happy families. You can find her on Instagram @sleepbybree where she shares free sleep advice and weekly Q and A’s.

Warrnambool parent's first aid training helped avoid serious burns

The quick thinking of Warrnambool parents Lucy and Pat Mahony saved their 18-month-old son Ollie from serious scars for life after he pulled a cup of coffee onto himself.

Read Now
What is the best way to check a baby’s temperature?

How do I check my baby’s temperature? 🤒 What is the best way to check a baby’s temperature? There are so many different types and brands of thermometers out there. What thermometer should I buy?

We're here to answer all your questions!

Read More
Pain Relief for Kids: Your Guide to The How Much, When and Why

When our little loves are in pain, we want nothing more than to help them. This guide discusses common pain reliving medications that we can use to help alleviate their pain, as well as when and why we use them.

Read Now