Safe Infant Sleeping Standards

The South Australian Safe Infant Sleeping Standards (PDF 732KB) were developed by a core group of experts from Government and non-Government sectors in South Australia under the direction of the South Australian Safe Sleeping Advisory Committee.

These Standards have been developed based on existing evidence concerning risk factors in infant sleeping environments, current professional standards, and the needs of caregivers. They are applicable to all families with infants, from birth to 12 months of age, and are designed to promote the safest sleeping practices and environments. These Standards serve as a practical resource, outlining essential safe infant sleeping practices and environments, including the challenges they may present for parents and staff.

They offer support to all staff and volunteers in community and hospital settings who interact with parents and caregivers of infants under 12 months of age, helping them effectively promote and model safe infant sleep practices and environments. These six Standards provide clarity and guidance for those working with families and caregivers of infants under 12 months, outlining safe sleeping practices and evidence related to risk factors in the infant sleeping environment.

Standard 1

All staff will place well infants under 12 months on their back to sleep from birth, never on their front (tummy) or side, unless there are medically indicated reasons.

Standard 2

All staff will be fully informed about the risks of sharing the same sleep surface with an infant and promote the placing of infants for sleep in an Australian Standards compliant cot (AS/NZS 2172:2003) in the same room as the parents for the first six to 12 months.

Standard 3

All staff will consider the social, cultural and life circumstances of each family when promoting safe sleeping practices and ensure the information is provided in ways that are culturally accessible and can be easily understood by that family.

Standard 4

All staff will ensure that expectant and new parents are made aware of the strong association between smoking and the increased risk of SIDS and are supported and referred to smoking cessation or reduction programs.

Standard 5

All staff will provide parents, caregivers and families, with accurate information about a safe cot, with a safe mattress, safe bedding and in a safe environment.

Standard 6

All staff will ensure that expectant and new parents are made aware of the benefits of breastfeeding as a protective factor in reducing the risk of SIDS and are later given support to breastfeed.