Best practice guide for the design of safe infant sleeping environments

In Australia in 2019, every week 2 infants died suddenly with no clear explanation. Unsafe sleeping environments may have contributed.

The new Safe Infant Sleep Environments Guide will help industry retailers and manufacturers understand, identify and mitigate the critical safety hazards associated with the infant sleep environment.

Despite significant gains over the last 2 decades from the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaigns, infant sleep accidents remain as a significant yet avoidable contributor to sudden unexplained infant deaths.

Education alone is not the solution.

Most of the sleep-related products being sold to parents are not tested for infant sleep safety – including bumpers, bassinets, hammocks, co-sleepers, cot alternatives, mattresses, pillows, play and sleep centres, portable surfaces, sleep positioners, rockers, wraps, swaddles, blankets, wearables and more.

Few products in this space are regulated, and not all regulated products – cots, bunk beds and portable cots – manage to meet the required standards.

One of the challenges has been to translate lessons from fatal and near miss incidents into design principles that can allow manufacturers to create safer infant sleep products.

The new Safe Infant Sleep Environments Guide will help industry retailers and manufacturers understand, identify and mitigate the critical safety hazards associated with the infant sleep environment.

Ultimately, this will make it easier for parents to keep their infants safe while they sleep.

Put together by experts from a variety of key organisations, the Safe Infant Sleep Environments Guide will be launched nationally on Thursday 16 June.

Contributors to the guide include the Consumer Product Injury Research Advisory Group, Kidsafe Australia, Queensland Family and Child Commission, Australian Furniture Association, CHOICE, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (New Zealand), National Retailers Association, Office for the Advocate for Children and Young People (NSW) and many more.

Chaired by Kidsafe QLD, the guide is the result of collective input and feedback from various organisations and their representatives and we thank everyone for their time, input and expertise, in particular Dr Ruth Barker, Professor Jeanine Young and Dr Catherine Niven.

Why is the safe infant sleeping enviornment guide so important?

A child’s risk of death, particularly as a result of injury, varies due to factors such as age, vulnerability and developmental stage. Unexplained deaths and sleep-related incidents are the leading cause of death in infants (less than 1 year old).

Standards and regulations rarely keep pace with product development and whilst some progress has been made by industry, the public sector and consumer groups, a more comprehensive, coordinated and evidence-based approach was required to reduce the risk of death and life-threatening injuries in infants.

Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeanette Young AC PSM, Governor of Queensland and Patron of Kidsafe QLD Inc officially launching the Infant Safe Sleeping Guide.

The Hon. Shannon Fentiman Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence provided this video for the Guide’s launch.

Who are we?

Kidsafe Queensland is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation with a vision for a safer world for our kids at home, at play and on the road. For more than 40 years, we have been keeping kids out of hospital by teaching parents and caregivers how to prevent injuries with evidence based, practical safety advice. We have travelled the safety journey with over 20,000 Queensland families and the conversation always starts when baby arrives.

Booster seats, specialty child car restraints and more

We offer a wide range of child car restraint products for hire and to buy, including booster seats, home safety products and more. Browse through our online store.

Kidsafe Queensland is also a provider of specialty postural and behavioural harnesses as well as specialty child car restraints for children with medical conditions and disabilities. Kidsafe is a registered provider of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).