Keep Your Baby Safe During Sleep
Every year, too many New Zealand babies die suddenly during sleep.
Many of these deaths can be prevented.
You can help protect your baby from dying suddenly in their sleep by:
- PLACE baby in their own bed for every sleep (and close to parents/caregivers at night)
- ELIMINATE smoking in pregnancy, in the whanau and in the home
- POSITION baby on their back for sleep
- ENCOURAGE and support Mum, so baby is breastfed
This pamphlet describes the best ways to protect your baby from dying suddenly in their sleep. It aligns with the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee publication, Special Report: Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (June 2017). This report is available online at https://www.hqsc.govt.nz/assets/CYMRC/Publications/CYMRC_SUDI_Report.pdf
Make every sleep a safe sleep
Always follow these safe-sleep routines for your baby and your baby’s bed.
Make sure your baby is safe
- Always sleeps on their back to keep their airways clear
- Is in their own bassinet, cot or other baby bed – free from adults or children who might accidentally suffocate them
- Has a parent/caregiver who is alert to their needs and free from alcohol or drugs
Make sure your baby’s bed is safe
- Has a firm and flat mattress – to keep baby’s airways open
- Has no gaps between the frame and the mattress – that could trap or wedge baby
- Has nothing in the bed that might cover baby’s face or lift their head – no pillows, toys, loose bedding or bumper pads
- Is close to the parents/caregivers at night for the first 6 months of life
Make sure your baby is healthy and strong
- Smokefree in pregnancy and after birth – protecting their lungs and airways
- Exclusively breastfed to around 6 months of age and continues to be breastfed to 12 months of age
- Immunised on time
If you choose to sleep in bed with your baby, put them in their own baby bed beside you – for example, a pepi-pod®
or wahakura. This may help reduce the risk of your baby suffocating while they are asleep. Information about using a pepi-pod® or wahakura is available online at http://sudinationalcoordination.co.nz/resources and www.pepipod.co.nz
It is never safe to put your baby to sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair.
Car seats or capsules protect your baby when travelling in the car. Don’t use them as a cot or bassinet.
If you need financial assistance so that baby can have their own bed, you may be eligible for help from Work and Income. For more information visit www.workandincome.govt.nz or call 0800 559 009.
Protect your baby’s head shape
When your baby is sleeping, turn their head so that sometimes they face left and sometimes they face right.
Tummy time while baby is awake will help protect their head shape and make their arms strong.
- Back for sleep
- Front for play
- Upright for cuddles and hugs
- Speak to your midwife, Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse, doctor or practice nurse
- Ring PlunketLine on 0800 933 922
- Visit the Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz
- Other websites: