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sleeping safe & sound

nursery buyers guide

sleeping safe & sound

The safest way for your baby to sleep is on their back

In the past parents were told to put their babies to sleep on their front (you may well have slept like this as a baby) but experts now advise parents that the safest position for babies to sleep in is on their backs. It is not safe for babies to sleep on their front or side and in fact babies settle more easily on their back, especially if they have been placed to sleep that way from the very first day. If your baby is less than six months old and you find them asleep on their tummy, gently turn them onto their back.

Don't feel you need to keep getting up all night to check on this. After around six months, babies can usually roll onto their back themselves so leave them to find their own position. Whatever your baby's age, always place them to sleep on their back.

Make sure your baby's head stays uncovered

It can be dangerous if your baby's head gets covered when they sleep. Place them with their feet to the foot of the cot, with the bedclothes firmly tucked in and no higher than their shoulders, so they can't wriggle down under the covers. Don't worry if they wriggle up and get uncovered.

Where is the best place for your baby to sleep?

The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first six months is in a crib or cot in a room with you. Some parents choose to co-sleep with their baby; where their baby sleeps in bed with them. However, it's worth bearing in mind that it's especially dangerous for your baby to sleep in your bed if you (or your partner):

  • are a smoker (even if you never smoke in bed or in the home)
  • have been drinking alcohol
  • take medication or drugs that make you drowsy
  • feel very tired

or if your baby:

  • was born before 37 weeks
  • weighed less than 2.5kg or 5.5lbs at birth
  • is less than three months old.

Don't forget, accidents can happen:

  • you might roll over and suffocate your baby
  • your baby could be caught between the wall and the bed
  • your baby could roll out of your bed and be injured
  • it's very dangerous to sleep together with a baby on a sofa, armchair or settee and it is also risky to sleep a baby alone in an adult bed.

Choose lightweight blankets and clothing for sleep

If your baby is under a year old:

  • don't use a duvet, quilt or pillow
  • don't use electric blankets or hot water bottles
  • use one or more layers of light blankets or use a baby sleeping bag

Sleep your baby on a firm, clean, dry mattress

It is very important that your baby's mattress is kept clean and dry. Ideally you should buy a new mattress for each new baby. If you are not able to do this, use the one you have as long as it was made with a completely waterproof cover and has no tears, cracks or holes. Clean it thoroughly and dry it.

Babies don't need hot rooms

Babies don't need especially warm rooms. All-night heating is rarely necessary. Babies should never sleep next to a radiator or in direct sunlight. To keep an eye on the temperature, buy a simple room thermometer and keep it next to where your baby sleeps. The safest room temperature for your baby to sleep in is somewhere between 16-20繙C.

Check your baby regularly to make sure they aren't too hot - or too cold

To check if your baby is too hot, look for sweating or place your hand on your baby to feel how hot they are - don't worry if their hands or feet are cool; that's normal. If your baby feels too hot, remove one or more layers of blankets. Babies who are unwell need fewer - not more - bedclothes.