Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected death of a seemingly healthy baby for whom no cause of death can be determined based on an investigation of the place where the baby died and the baby’s medical history.

In order that proactive steps can be taken to lower the risk of SIDS in childcare settings and so that parents and staff can work together to keep babies safer while they sleep, this nursery will practise the following safe sleep policy:

Babies will always be placed on their backs to sleep unless there is a signed sleep position medical waiver on file. If the child is under 6 months of age, this waiver should be signed by the child’s doctor; a parent’s signature is accepted for children over the age of 6 months. All children under the age of one year will be placed in a sleeping bag to sleep instead of using a blanket.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Death (FSID) recommends that babies are placed on their backs to sleep, but when babies can easily turn over from the back to the stomach, they can be allowed to adopt whatever position they prefer to sleep. We will follow this recommendation. Parents are asked to please discuss with your key person your preference if your baby turns onto his/her side or stomach.

FSID recommends that using a dummy at the start of any sleep period reduces the risk of cot death. If a dummy forms part of your child’s sleep routine, we are happy to use it at sleep times.

It is our policy that we will not settle a baby to sleep in a cot with a bottle. If a parent instructs us to do so, we will require written permission.

At least every 15 minutes (in practice, every ten minutes) a staff member will visually check on the child; looking for the rise and fall of the chest and if the sleep position has changed. A chart is kept of children’s sleep, and this is signed by the staff member checking. We will be especially alert to monitoring a sleeping baby during its first weeks in our nursery.

Steps will be taken to keep babies from becoming too warm or over heating by regulating the room temperature, avoiding excess bedding and not overdressing or over-wrapping the baby; room temperature will be kept between 68-72 degrees.

Babies’ heads will not be covered with blankets or bedding; babies’ cots will not be covered with blankets or bedding. A safety approved cot with a firm fitting mattress and tight-fitting sheet will be used. Only one baby will be in a cot at a time to sleep, except in the event of an emergency or during a fire drill when they will be placed in the evacuation cot.

Within the baby room all children will have a designated cot. When a child goes into their cot the bedding will be changed, this bedding is kept in their individual bedding bag. When the toddler room or library is transformed into the sleep room after lunchtime for the children to sleep in, the children will sleep (as far as possible) in the same location each time they are in.

No smoking is permitted on the premises and key persons who smoke will ensure that their clothes and breath do not smell of smoke when caring for babies.

When introducing or sharing the policy with our parents the following will be discussed:

  • Asking about the baby’s sleep position at home.
  • Informing the parents that even though most babies will be fine, there is a higher risk of SIDS when an infant is placed to sleep on their stomach or side.
  • Some babies have medical conditions that require stomach sleeping. If the parent asks that their baby be placed on his/her stomach or side to sleep, they will be asked to provide a note from the baby’s doctor that specifies the sleeping position.

Parents will be asked to complete a sleep permission form indicating their preferences regarding how long their child is permitted to sleep, if they wish to restrict this, and any instructions to wake their child at a particular time.

If parents have further questions about SIDS and infant sleeping positions, they may wish to contact the FSID on 0207 233 2090 (24 hr helpline) or the Lullaby Trust on 0207 802 3200.

Revised May 2022
By: Jacquelin Curtis
Adopted as the policy of the nursery
By: Jacquelin Curtis Director,
Activeplay Nurseries Ltd