Safe Sleep For Your Baby
Safe Sleep For Your Baby
Every year, too many New Zealand babies die suddenly during sleep. Find out about the best ways to reduce the risk. Make every sleep a safe sleep for your baby.
Key points to remember about safe sleep for your baby
- P - place baby in their own baby bed in the same room as you
- E - eliminate smoking in pregnancy and protect baby with a smoke-free family or whānau, whare (home) and waka (car)
- P - position baby flat on their back to sleep - face clear of bedding
- E - encourage and support exclusive breastfeeding and gentle handling of baby
P - place baby in their own baby bed in the same room as you
Give your baby their own bed (such as a cot, bassinet, wahakura or Pēpi-Pod®).
Place your baby in their own bed for every sleep, including when visiting friends and whānau.
Have your baby's bed in the same room as you for at least the first 6 months.
Have a firm, flat mattress that fits your baby's bed well and has no gaps between the frame and the mattress.
Have nothing in the bed that might cover your baby's face - no pillows, toys, loose blankets or bumper pads.
If you choose to sleep in bed with your baby, put them in their own baby bed beside you - for example, a Pēpi-pod® or wahakura. This will help reduce the risk of your baby suffocating while they are asleep.
If you'd like find out more about a Pēpi-pod® or wahakura, ask your midwife.
It is never safe to put your baby to sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair.
The person looking after your baby needs to be sober and drug-free.
Check the safe sleep card (PDF, 221 KB)
E - eliminate smoking in pregnancy and protect baby with a smoke-free family or whānau, whare (home) and waka (car)
Protect your baby with a smoke-free family or whānau, whare (home) and waka (car). If you want to give up smoking:
- call the free Quitline on 0800 778 778 or text 4006
- check out the Quitline/Me Mutu website
- ask your midwife or family doctor about support services near you
P - position baby flat on their back to sleep - face clear of bedding
Make sure your baby always sleeps on their back with their face clear of bedding.
When your baby sleeps on their back, they can better keep their airway clear and open.
E - encourage and support exclusive breastfeeding and gentle handling of baby
Your breastmilk makes a big difference to your baby's health.
Breastmilk helps protect your baby from some illnesses, as a baby and later in their life.
Ask your midwife if you'd like some more support with your breastfeeding.
Check the KidsHealth breastfeeding section
How can I make every sleep a safe sleep when I'm out and about with my baby?
Car seats or capsules protect your baby when travelling in the car. Don't use them as a cot or bassinet. Car seats and capsules are not safe for your baby to sleep in when you are at home or at your destination.
If you are out somewhere, make sure your baby has a safe place to sleep. Take your wahakura, Pēpi-pod®, portacot or bassinet with you, and use it on a flat surface.
What if I need financial help to get my baby their own bed?
If you need financial help so that baby can have their own bed, you may be able to get some help from Work and Income. For more information visit the Work and Income website or call 0800 559 009.
How can I protect my 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 your 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
Find out more about positional head flattening in babies
Ministry of Health video - keeping baby safe in bed
This page last reviewed 27 June 2022.
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