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1 October 2020

Baby safe sleeping tips

Get advice on the correct temperature, clothing, bedding and sleeping position to keep your baby safe at bedtime.
Baby boy asleep under rainbow blanket
AP
Alison Potter

10 safe sleeping tips for babies

Baby charity the Lullaby Trust advises parents to follow these cot and sleep-safety tips:

1. Keep your baby's cot in your room with you for the first six months.

2. The recommended room temperature for a baby to sleep in is 16-20ºC (61-68ºF) – use a room thermometer to check before putting your baby to bed. 

3. To check whether your baby is too hot, look for sweating or feel your baby's tummy or the back of their neck, not hands or feet.

4. The safest sleeping position for your baby in a cot is lying on their back, not on their front or side (unless your doctor advises otherwise), until your baby is able to roll from back to front and back again.

5. Place your baby with their feet to the foot of the cot, so they can’t wriggle down under the covers. Don’t worry if they wriggle up and get uncovered. Alternatively, you can use a baby sleeping bag instead of bedding.

6. It can be dangerous if your baby’s head gets covered when they're sleeping. To avoid this, tuck in the bedclothes firmly around your child, and no higher than shoulder level.

7. Never use a pillow, quilt or duvet if your baby is under one year old. Instead, use cotton sheets or lightweight blankets. See our full guide to baby bedding for more information on what's best to use.

8. Make sure the mattress is firm, dry and clean – read our guide to cot mattress safety for more information.

9. Keep the cot out of direct sunlight.

10. Babies need to lose excess heat from their heads. So if you've been out with your baby and they fall asleep, remove their hat and extra clothing as soon as you come indoors or enter a warm bus, train or shop, even if it means waking your baby.

How to buy the best cot bedwe give you expert advice and essential tips to choose the best.

Watch: our baby sleeping bags video

In July 2020 we tested 15 baby sleeping bags from a range of well-known brands and online marketplaces. Our tests uncovered serious issues with seven of the sleeping bags. Find out more in our baby sleeping bags investigation.

Watch our video below to learn about four products you should steer clear of. They're listed as baby sleeping bags by the sellers on online marketplaces, but they're not the traditional-style sleeping bags and we'd advise against buying them.

Baby sleep positioners, pods and nests

Baby sleep poisitioners, cushioned sleeping pods and baby nests are popular with parents, but we have concerns.

In October 2017, several prominent retailers (including eBay, John Lewis and Tesco) stopped selling these products for babies under six months, citing concerns over safety. 

These products do not provide a flat, safe sleeping surface and they pose a risk of suffocation if your baby rolls on to their front. So they should never be used without supervision. 

There have been 12 infant deaths in the US between 1997 and 2010 due to this. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US released a statement warning about these items, which are also known as 'anti-roll' products, warning parents not to buy or use them.

Which? doesn't review these products, and current safe-sleeping advice from The Lullaby Trust is to keep cots clear of pillows, toys, bumpers and sleep positioners, because the evidence shows that this reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

View all Cot mattresses