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The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot in the same room as you. The risk of cot death is higher for babies who sleep in a separate room.

Keep your baby's cot in the same room as you for at least the first 6 months.

Cot safety

Make sure the cot is in good condition and correctly assembled.

The mattress should be clean, firm and flat with no rips. It should fit the cot. An uneven mattress could allow your baby to roll onto their side and tummy.

There is a risk your baby could get trapped in a gap between the mattress and the edge of the cot if the mattress does not fit properly. This could lead to suffocation.

No pillows or sleep positioners

Do not use sleep positioners and other similar products. They do not prevent cot death or flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), and are a suffocation risk.

Pillows and cushions should not be in the cot as they could suffocate your baby.

Do not use them to elevate your baby's head during sleep. This does not reduce reflux and is not recommended.

Keep the cot clear of all objects

Do not have any soft objects and anything loose or fluffy in your baby's cot.

This includes:

  • cot bumpers
  • blankets
  • duvets
  • toys
  • teddies
  • wedges
  • bedding rolls

These objects could suffocate or smother your baby.

Dangers to avoid

Sharing a bed with your baby (co-sleeping)

A separate cot in your room is the safest place for your baby to sleep.

Bed sharing or co-sleeping in the same bed can be dangerous. It can increase your baby’s risk of suffocation or cot death.

Suffocation can happen when your baby:

  • slips under the bed covers
  • rolls under an adult
  • gets trapped between the bed and the wall
  • falls out of the bed

Your baby should not share a bed with your other children.

Do not share a bed with your baby, if you or your partner:

  • are smokers
  • have taken alcohol, drugs (legal or illegal) or medicines that can make you drowsy
  • are over tired

Do not share a bed if your baby:

  • is less than 3 months old
  • was premature (born before 37 weeks)
  • had a low birth weight - less than 2.5kg (kilograms) or 5.5lbs (pounds)

Sitting and carrying devices

Cot death does not only happen in a cot. It may happen in a pram, bed, car seat, baby seat or anywhere a baby is sleeping.

Sleeping in a sitting position can make it difficult for your baby to breathe.

Never leave your baby unsupervised in a sitting device. This includes a car seat, baby seat, baby carrier or sling, or similar products. These sitting and carrying devices are not recommended for routine sleep in the home.


If your baby falls asleep in a sitting position, they should be placed on their back to sleep as soon as possible

How to use baby carriers and slings safely

Sofa, armchairs and furniture

Never fall asleep while holding your baby on a sofa, couch, armchair or beanbag.

Page last reviewed: 15 September 2022
Next review due: 15 September 2025