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What do I need to ensure my baby sleeps safely?

With so many baby products available it can feel overwhelming and confusing, trying to work out what you actually need. With the help of The Lullaby Trust, we’ve put together this guide to baby sleep essentials.

It’s actually quite simple and you don’t need a lot to help make sure your baby can sleep safely. In fact, having lots of items in and around baby’s cot or bed isn’t recommended as they can increase the risk of you baby’s head being covered and that can lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

You only need a few items to keep your baby safe when sleeping:

  • Baby needs their own sleep surface within a Moses basket, cot or travel cot.
  • You also need a firm, flat mattress, which fits the Moses basket or cot properly. This should have a waterproof cover to keep the mattress clean and dry.
  • Use a baby sleep bag such as The Grobag rather than loose sheets and blankets.

It’s important that you check that your baby’s mattress is in good condition and that it fits the Moses basket or cot properly.

It’s also safest for your baby to sleep on their own sleep surface, in the same room as you, for at least the first six months. Place them down to sleep on their back and with their feet at the bottom of the cot.

Avoid using soft or bulky bedding such as quilts, pillows or duvets. These can increase the risk of overheating which can raise the risk of SIDS. You should also remove any toys from the cot before you put your baby down to sleep, even if it’s just for a nap.

Can I re-use a mattress?
The Lullaby Trust recommends using a new mattress for each baby. But if you have to get one second-hand, make sure the mattress and its waterproof cover are in a good condition. It’s important that there are no tears or holes and the mattress is firm and flat. It shouldn’t sag anywhere.

Make sure your baby’s mattress is clean and dry and clean the waterproof cover thoroughly before you use it. Make baby’s bed up with fresh, clean bedding.

Is it safe for babies to sleep in car seats?
It’s a good idea to take regular breaks if you’re going on a long journey and your baby is likely to be in their car seat for a long time. Make sure your baby gets some time out of their seat before you continue your journey.

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance when positioning your baby in their car seat and make sure it’s fitted correctly in your car.

You should always be able to keep an eye on your baby when they’re travelling in a car seat. It’s best if an adult sits in the back seat with them, but if that isn’t possible, then make sure you can see them through your rear-view mirror.

You should only use car seats for transportation and always follow the manufacturer’s advice.

For more guidance on baby sleep safety, check out The Lullaby Trust’s website.

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