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Create the safest possible sleep environment for your baby.

27 Nov, 2023
Baby | Parenting

We know how much your baby means to you and how you would do anything to keep them safe. In a world of social media where images of the “perfect looking” nursery are promoted in between ads for the latest trends, where do we start when looking to make educated decisions about what is safe in a sleep environment, or not?

Our partners’ at Soteria Safe Sleeping Advice have some great information here to consider:

Social media is awash with photos of influencers’ beautiful nurseries, cots covered by draping canopies. Suppliers, whether they be bricks-and-mortar or online, entice with displays of pretty nursery products and accessories but with no warnings of the dangers these may present to the little person sleeping in them.

It often comes as a surprise to parents that few nursery products, particularly infant sleeping products and accessories, are covered by an Australian/New Zealand safety standard. While cots must be manufactured to a mandatory standard, this does not extend to the accessories that are sold with them.

Safety experts are warning that decor trends for nurseries such as canopies, bumpers and doonas, usually all matching, or hanging accessories like mobiles pose significant dangers to children.

Canopies, for example, serve no purpose other than to be pretty but can be a potential strangulation hazard to infants, especially as they begin to explore their environment and start to pull on anything that may drape over their cot.

Decorations such as fairy lights may add a gentle glow but as Choice has warned, the string can be a strangulation risk or possible electrocution if baby chews on the cord, while bulbs can become a choking risk and if powered by button batteries, they are a serious health problem if swallowed.

Bumpers in the cot look soft and comfy but the risk of suffocation far outweighs the perceived benefit of preventing baby bumping its head on the cot bars. There is very little evidence of injury from this, but there are many tragic stories of baby rolling into the bumper and asphyxiating.

So, as tempting as it is to copy the Kardashians and their oh, so pretty nurseries, take a moment before you buy to stop and look with a little more critical eye at the Instagram-able décor and ask, is it safe, or just pretty?

Sleeping your baby safely for every sleep, day and night, reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents. One easy way to remember them is through the River’s Gift model - B, A, C, K as outlined below…

B: Sleep your baby on their BACK
Place your baby on their BACK for every sleep from birth, on a firm, flat and well fitted mattress. Sleeping your baby on their side or tummy greatly increases the risk of SIDS or sleeping accidents. Tilting your baby’s head into a chin to chest position should always be avoided because it can bend and constrict your baby’s airway and make it hard for them to breathe.

A: AIRWAYS are always clear
Ensure your baby’s AIRWAYS are always clear. No padded bedding, loose blankets, loose sheets, sheepskin underlay or doonas, accessories such as pillows, bumpers, sleep nests or positioners, beanies, hooded clothing or, soft toys. ALWAYS sleep your baby with their head and face uncovered.

C: Sleep your baby in their own COT in your room, for the first 6 to 12 months.
Sofas, armchairs, beanbags, sleep nests or positioners, slings and cushions are not safe places for your baby to sleep. Car capsules should only be used when travelling in a car, not as a sleeping place.

K: KEEP your baby smoke free
KEEP your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth. For more tips and information on Safe sleeping and SIDS download our brochure:

Find out more about River's Gift and Soteria Safe Sleeping Advice at

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