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Safer Sleeping for Babies and Toddlers 

Safer sleeping for babies and toddlers

Is Your Nursery Sleeping Area Safe?

When we are expecting a baby we create the cutest little nursery for our little ones. We see all these amazing products online that will make their sleeping arrangements very comfy and snuggly, but sometimes we are unaware of the danger some of these products can cause. Despite an abundance of information being out there on safer sleeping for babies and toddlers, unfortunately, some of these products are still being sold and I can’t help but question why. Certainly in some countries, some of these products are being removed from shelves, but still, it’s not enough.

Is There Enough Information Available on Safer Sleeping for Babies and Toddlers?

How about the amount of information that is given to parents on safer sleeping for babies and toddlers, and which products not to use? Are health visitors up to date with new guidelines or are they giving out advice that is out of date? Let’s take safe co-sleeping as an example, which the NHS recently updated their guidelines on. They no longer tell parents not to co-sleep, but instead tell them how to do it safely should a situation arise that results in co-sleeping. You can find more info on our co-sleeping blog which is backed up by information from the NHS and lullaby trust.

Let’s look at some products that shouldn’t be used for your baby or toddler while sleeping.

Cot/Crib Bumpers 

Cot bumpers seem like a sensible idea for protecting your baby, when in fact they are a big no-no. Cot bumpers are a hazard for choking, strangulation, and suffocation, but why? Babies move around a lot in their sleep and some babies have unfortunately become entangled in the ties and materials. Furthermore, depending on their age your baby could climb on the material with the risk of them being able to climb right out of the cot, possibly resulting in a fall from height.

Pillows & Blankets 

Avoid pillows and blankets for babies under 12 months old. That is the official amount of time recommended by experts, however I would suggest even longer. With babies moving around so much, they can easily smother their faces in a pillow risking suffocation. Likewise, with regards to blankets, they can roll under the blanket which can increase the risk of suffocation and overheating.

Baby sleeping with blanket over its face

So what is a safe alternative to use instead of a blanket? There are a number of different sleeping bags on the market designed for babies and toddlers up to the age of 36 months, but always remember to choose the appropriate TOG based on the temperature outside and in your home.

Pods & Nests

You can find these in stores all over the place and they are even made by many well-known brands, even so, they are a big no. Babies should always sleep on flat, firm surfaces to reduce the risk of SIDS. Pods and nests are made with soft materials and the outside edges are usually raised. This can put the baby at risk of rolling and being smothered against the raised part. In addition to that, nests and pods can cause baby to overheat which can contribute to the risk of SIDS. Despite some brands telling parents their products are safe, this has been refuted on the Lullaby Trust website.

Dummy Clips

Dummy clips must be safety tested by law to ensure they meet the stringent safety guidelines associated with baby products. Unfortunately, there are many hobbyists that make items such as these and sell them on well-known social media sites. In most cases, they are probably blissfully unaware of the dangers or the legal requirements for testing. It is therefore important to only buy dummy clips (or any baby products for that matter) from a reputable source.

Why are dummy clips unsafe while sleeping? Firstly, if they are not assembled with fully safety-tested components and to the required specifications, there is the possibility of them breaking, and the resulting pieces becoming a choking hazard. Secondly, and by far one of the most common mistakes we see, is the dummy clip being made longer than the allowed length, which can result in strangulation. We recommend no dummy clips be left in your baby’s sleeping area, regardless of their source.

Read our recent blog post for more information about dummy usage and its impact on sleep.

baby sleeping with dummy clip


Avoid letting your baby sleep with toys in their cot. It can create the same situation as pillows, and the potential for them to be smothered. Of course, we know it gives them comfort and makes a cute nursery, but it does still remains a danger. If your child needs extra comfort to get to sleep, instead of a toy why not try a white sound machine.

Amber Teething Necklaces

Amber teething necklaces are something we have mentioned numerous times in other blog posts, and although they are very popular, there are no studies to suggest they actually work. Many parents use them to aid with sleep either at night or nap time while going through the teething stage, but they are widely considered to be dangerous and have been attributed to at least one infant death. Firstly they can be pulled and break, resulting in loose pieces that can be swallowed. Secondly and perhaps most obviously, is that they pose a strangulation risk regardless of whether or not they have been safety tested.

Bed Guards 

Bed guards are safe to use, but were you aware that they have age restrictions and shouldn’t be used for children under the age of 18 months? This is because they could climb over it resulting in falling from an even higher level, or they could even get trapped between the mattress and the bed guard and be unable to get themselves out of that position.

A Final Note: Educating Yourself on Safer Sleeping for Babies & Toddlers

For such an important topic as this, we have perhaps only really scraped the surface. As always, it’s good to read up as much as you can and from multiple sources, but always ensure you cross-reference ‘opinions’ with factual advice from the likes of the NHS or Lullaby Trust website. Both of these sources have a huge amount of information on safe sleeping. 


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