Safe Sleeping Part 3: Beds and bedding


Whether you are sleeping baby in a bassinet or basket or cot you will need to check it is safe.

Make sure there is nothing sharp or loose, no gaps or anything else baby could get trapped in.  Make sure it is in good condition.  Any cots should comply with the AS/NZS 2172:2003 product safety standard, which is set by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

We recommend extreme caution in buying a second hand cot, as you will not necessarily know if it meets this standard.

Things you need to check include general durability, depth of the cot, safety of any holes and openings and spacing between slats (so that there is nothing a child could get trapped in or between, that there are no protrusions like posts that a child could get caught on, safety of the fastening devices etc.

If you can’t afford to buy a new cot you could try to borrow one from a friend who no longer needs theirs.  They are more likely to be able to give you accurate information on how old the cot is, what it has been through, and if it complies with the safety standard.

You need to make sure that your cot mattress fits firmly in the cot with little or no gap between the edge of the mattress and the cot side.  Try to buy a new mattress even if you can’t afford a new cot.  Mattresses can harbour all manner of dust mites and germs, plus there’s a good chance that they’ve been soiled at one point or another.


I love snuggling into bed with my feather pillow, snuggly duvet, hot water bottle, and occasionally the cat!  It’s tempting to adorn our baby’s bed with similar luxuries.  Step into any baby shop and the array of bedding and furniture is quite staggering?  Would you like a zoo animals theme?  Or perhaps fairies?  Maybe some custom made European furniture or a hand knitted quilt?  For babies’ bedding less is definitely more!  All your baby needs for her bed is a water resistant mattress protector, fitted bottom sheet, top sheet and several blankets.  Other bedding and accessories can often pose hazards.  Babies’ beds should not have:

  • cot bumpers – often sold to parents to “keep drafts away from baby” or to “stop baby banging their head” it is possible for babies to become entangled/wedged in bumpers and strangle or suffocate.
  • quilts and duvets that sit on top of covers.  All covers need to be able to be firmly tucked in.  Anything that can come loose is at danger of working over baby’s head or face.
  • pillows.  Babies don’t need pillows until they move to a big bed as they can become trapped underneath them.
  • stuffed toys that baby can wriggle under can pose a risk of suffocation.
  • too many covers.  It is better for baby to sleep in a warm room with fewer covers.  Too many covers pose a risk of over heating.

It’s worth noting that just because something is sold in a baby shop doesn’t mean it’s necessary or good.  Cot bumpers, small quilts, pillows and pillowcases, walkers and many other things that are unsafe for babies can all be found in your average baby shop.

Making baby’s bed

Beds need to be made up so that baby cannot work their way under the cover to the bottom of the bed.  So instead of making up the bed so that there is just room at the top for baby’s head (as we do with our beds), the baby’s bed need to be made so that there is only a body length of blanket.  This means baby can’t work his way under the covers.  When you put baby to bed tuck them in securely.  If your baby is especially wiggly and persists in working his way out from under the covers you may find it helpful to use a baby snuggle sack, sleeping bag, or safety sleep.


Posted on July 28, 2011, in Safety, Sleep and Crying. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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