Safe Sleep Practices Policy


To ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending education and care services. Effective sleep and rest practices support each child’s wellbeing and comfort and include appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s need for sleep, rest and relaxation (Element 2.1.1). These strategies reinforce children’s rights to quality education and care in an environment that provides for their health and safety.


These guidelines will apply to the Approved provider, nominated supervisor, certified supervisor, educators, staff, students on placement, volunteers, parents, children and others attending the service.


All children have individual sleep and rest requirements. Our objective is to meet these needs by providing a comfortable, relaxing and safe space to enable their bodies to rest. This environment will also be well supervised ensuring all children feel secure.

2.2.1 Supervision At all times, reasonable precautions and adequate supervision ensure children are protected from harm and hazard
Quality Area 3: Physical Environment 
3.1 Design The design of the facilities is appropriate for the operation of a service
3.1.2 Upkeep Premises, furniture and equipment are safe, clean and well maintained


We at First Idea Family Day Care Services ensure that reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the needs for sleep and rest of children being educated and cared for by the service are met, having regard to the ages, development stages and individual needs of the children.


A compliance direction may be issued for failure to comply with sub regulation (1)

 Education and Care Services National Regulations

Children (Education and Care Services) National Law NSW
81 Sleep and Rest
103 Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair
105 Furniture, materials and equipment
110 Ventilation and natural light
115 Premises designed to facilitate supervision
168 Education and care service must have policies and procedures


Children have different sleep, rest and relaxation needs. Children of the same age can have different sleep patterns, which Nominated Supervisors and Educators need to consider within the Service. As per Standard 2.1 (Element 2.1.1) of the National Quality Standard, each child’s comfort must be provided for and there must be appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s sleep, rest and relaxation needs.

Our Service defines ‘rest’ as a period of inactivity, solitude, calmness or tranquillity, and can include a child being in a state of sleep.  Considering the busy and energetic nature of children’s day, we feel that it is important for children to participate in a quiet/rest period during the day in order to rest, relax and recharge their body. Effective rest strategies are important factors in ensuring a child feels secure and safe in an early childhood environment.

Our Service will consult with families about their child’s individual needs, ensuring they are aware of the different values and parenting beliefs, cultural or opinions associated with sleep requirements.


  • Cots and other bedding equipment and accessories must meet current Australian Standards.
  • Position beds and cots with unobstructed access to assist in managing emergency situations and to reduce the risk of cross infection or injury.
  • Provide children with a safe sleeping environment removing from reach all potential dangers including cords or strings, heaters and electrical appliances.
  • Only one child is permitted per bed or cot for rest time.
  • If a child does not have linen for rest time, the center must provide clean linen for use on the day
  • Ensure that the room temperature and linen is appropriate for the climate.
  • Ensure sleep room viewing windows are free from obstruction.
  • Cots must be prepared following the below:
  • The bottom sheet must be firmly tucked in.
  • The covering sheet and light blanket must be firmly tucked in at the bottom to prevent the baby or child from covering their head during rest. Where a parent requests that their infant sleeps in a sleeping bag ensure the following;
  • The sleeping bag is made so that the baby cannot slip inside the bag and become completely covered.
  • The sleeping bag has a fitted neck and arm holes and does not have a hood.
  • Make sure that the infant has appropriate clothing on under the sleeping bag so that you don’t need to use any other bedding.
  • Do not use donnas, pillows, lamb’s wool, thick quits, bumpers, soft toys, comforter or pacifiers attached to the chain in cots.


  • Each child’s face and hands are to be washed before transitioning to sleep and rest time. Encourage older children to do this for themselves.
  • Remove excess clothing including hooded clothing, jewelry, bibs and shoes from all children.
  • Ensure clothing is appropriate to the season/ weather or room temperature.
  • Ensure there is sufficient lighting for educator to observe children resting and enable children to undertake quiet activities.
  • A bottle required prior to rest, must be offered before laying the infant down. Infants are not to be placed in the cot with the bottle. Young children must always be sitting down feeding from a bottle or sippy cup.

Where the parent request that their infant is wrapped ensure the following:

  • Wrapping is only to be used if requested by the parent.
  • Wrap the infant from below the neck to avoid covering the face.
  • Wrap should be firm but not tight. When wrapping infant, allow for hip flexion and chest wall expansion.
  • The infant is not overdressed under their wrap, has the head uncovered and does not have an infection or fever. Use only a nappy and singlet in warmer weather and add a lightweight grow suit in cooler weather.
  • Wrap should be of muslin or light cotton material. Bunny rugs and blankets are not safe alternatives as they may cause overheating.
  • Modify the wrap to meet the baby’s developmental changes.
  • Discontinue the wrapping when infant can turn onto the tummy during sleep’s

Maintenance of the cot and mat

  • Store the linen appropriately to prevent cross contamination.
  • Clean beds with an approved neutral cleaner/detergent and stack safely at the end of the rest time.
  • Linen is to be laundered after the child’s last day of attendance each week. Soiled linen , quit, comforter should be kept in a waterproof bags and send it to the parents to wash them and provided the care linen to the child.
  • Washed the linen separately in hot water and detergent
  • Dried in the sun or on a hot cycle in the clothes dryer.

Management will ensure

  • Reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the needs for sleep and rest of children being educated and cared for by the Service are met, having regard to the ages, developmental stages and individual needs of each child.
  • There are adequate numbers of cots and bedding available to children that meet Australian Standards.
  • All cots sold in Australia must meet the current mandatory Australian Standard for Cots (AS/NZS 2172) and should carry a label to indicate this.
  • All portable cots sold in Australia must meet the current mandatory Australian Standard for children’s portable folding cots, AS/NZS 2195, and should carry a label to indicate this.
  • Sleep and rest environments is safe and free from hazards
  • That areas for sleep and rest are well ventilated and have natural lighting.
  • That supervision window (or similar) will be kept clear to ensure safe supervision of sleeping children.
  • Ensure safe sleep practices are documented and shared with families. Nominated Supervisors and Educators are not expected to endorse practices requested by a family, if they are different from ‘Red Nose’ safe sleeping recommendations.

A Nominated Supervisor/ Responsible Person will:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs for sleep and rest of children being educated and cared for by the Service are met, having regard to the ages, development stages and individual needs of the children.
  • Maintain up to date knowledge regarding safe sleeping practice and communicate this information to Educators and families.
  • Ensure that sleeping infants are closely monitored and that all sleeping children are within hearing range and observed. This involves checking/inspecting sleeping children at regular intervals (every 10 minutes we need monitored and record it), and ensuring that they are always within sight and hearing distance of sleeping and resting children so they can easily monitor a child’s breathing and the colour of their skin.
  • Negotiate sleep and rest routines and practices with families to reach agreement on how these occur for each child at the Service.
  • Ensure they receive information and training to fulfil their role effectively, including being made aware of the sleep and rest policies, their responsibilities in implementing these, and any changes that are made over time.
  • Ensure the child’s safety is always the first priority
  • Ensure children who are sleeping or resting have their face uncovered at all times
  • Ensure the sleep and rest environment is free from cigarette or tobacco or any smoke

Educators will:

  • Consult with families about children’s sleep and rest needs
  • Be sensitive to each child’s needs so that sleep and rest times are a positive experience
  • Ensure that beds/mattresses are clean and in good repair
  • Ensure beds and mattresses are wiped over with warm water and neutral detergent or vinegar between each use
  • Ensure that bed linen is clean and in good repair
  • Ensure bed linen is used by an individual child and will be washed before use by another child
  • Arrange children’s beds and cots to allow easy access for children and staff
  • Create a relaxing environment for sleeping children by playing relaxation music, reading stories, cultural reflection; turning off lights and ensuring children are comfortably clothed.
  • The environment is tranquil and calm for both Educators and children
  • Sit near children encouraging them to relax and listen to music
  • Remember that children do not need to be “patted” to sleep. By providing a quiet, tranquil environment, children will choose to sleep if their body needs it.
  • Maintain adequate supervision
  • Assess each child’s circumstances and current health to determine whether higher supervision levels and checks may be required
  • Communicate with families about their child’s sleeping or rest times and the service routine regarding sleep and rest times
  • Respect family preferences regarding sleep and rest and consider these daily while ensuring children feel safe and secure in the environment. Conversations with families may be necessary to remind families that children will neither be forced to sleep nor prevented from sleeping.
  • Encourage children to dress appropriately for the room temperature when resting or sleeping. Lighter clothing is preferable, with children encouraged to remove shoes, jumpers, jackets and bulky clothing.
  • Ensure children rest/sleep head to toe to minimize the risk of cross infection
  • Monitor the room temperature to ensure maximum comfort for the children
  • Ensure that each child’s comfort is provided for
  • Ensure there are appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s need for sleep, rest and relaxation
  • Ensure that children who do notwish to sleep are provided with alternative quiet activities and experiences, while those children who dowish to sleep are allowed to do so, without being disrupted. If a child requests a rest, or if they are showing clear signs of tiredness, regardless of the time of day, there should be a comfortable, safe area available for them to rest (if required). It is important that opportunities for rest and relaxation, as well as sleep, are provided.
  • Consider a vast range of strategies to meet children’s individual sleep and rest needs
  • Respond to children’s individual cues for sleep (yawning, rubbing eyes, disengagement from activities, crying etc)
  • Acknowledge children’s emotions, feelings and fears
  • Develop positive relationships with children to assist in settling children confidently when sleeping and resting


Educators will:

  • Give bottle-fed children their bottles before going to bed
  • Ensure children are not be put in cots or in beds with bottles as per the Dental Health requirements
  • Ensure that cot rooms and sleep rooms have operational baby monitors on at all times
  • Observe children at 10-minute intervals while they sleep in these rooms and record the time of sleep check. Educators must go into the rooms and physically see babies breathing.
  • Encourage the use of sleeping bags for babies. If they have fitted neck and armholes there is no risk for the child’s face being covered.
  • Securely lock cots sides into place to ensure children’s safety
  • Turn off wall-mounted heaters before children use the room for sleeping. Cot rooms will be air conditioned and maintained at an appropriate temperature.
  • Be aware of manual handling practices when lifting babies in and out of cots
  • Participate in staff development about safe sleeping practices
  • Understand that bassinets, hammocks and prams/strollers do not carry safety codes for sleep. Babies should not be left in a bassinet, hammock or pram/stroller to sleep, as these are not safe substitutes for a cot
  • Ensure mattresses are kept in good condition; they should be clean, firm and flat, and fit the cot base with not more than a 20mm gap between the mattress sides and ends. A firm sleep surface that is compliant with the new AS/NZS Voluntary Standard (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013 Methods of testing infant products – Sleep surfaces – Test for firmness) should be used.
  • Not elevate or tilt mattresses
  • Remove any plastic packaging from mattresses
  • Waterproof mattress protectors are strong, not torn and a tight fit
  • Use firm, clean and well-fitting mattresses on portable cots
  • Remove pillows, donnas, loose bedding or fabric, lamb’s wool, bumpers and soft toys from cots


  • Babies should be placed on their back to sleep when first being settled. Once a baby has been observed to repeatedly roll from back to front and back again on their own, they can be left to find their own preferred sleep or rest position (this is usually around 5–6 months of age). Babies aged younger than 5–6 months, and who have not been observed to repeatedly roll from back to front and back again on their own, should be re-positioned onto their back when they roll onto their front or side.
  • If a medical condition exists that prevents a baby from being placed on their back, the alternative practice should be confirmed in writing with the Service, by the child’s medical practitioner.
  • Babies over four months of age can generally turn over in a cot. When a baby is placed to sleep, Educators should check that any bedding is tucked in securely and is not loose. Babies of this age may be placed in a safe baby sleeping bag (i.e. with fitted neck and arm holes, but no hood). At no time should a baby’s face or head be covered (i.e. with linen). To prevent a baby from wriggling down under bed linen, they should be positioned with their feet at the bottom of the cot.
  • If a baby is wrapped when sleeping, consider the baby’s stage of development. Leave their arms free once the startle reflex disappears at around three months of age and discontinue the use of a wrap when the baby can roll from back to tummy to back again (usually four to six months of age). Use only lightweight wraps such as cotton or muslin.
  • If being used, a dummy should be offered for all sleep periods. Dummy use should be phased out by the end of the first year of a baby’s life. If a dummy falls out of a baby’s mouth during sleep, it should not be re-inserted.
  • Babies or young children should not be moved out of a cot into a bed too early; they should also not be kept in a cot for too long. When a young child is observed attempting to climb out of a cot, and looking like they might succeed, it is time to move them out of a cot. This usually occurs when a toddler is between 2 and 3 ½ years of age but could be as early as 18 months.


    Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority

Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2015.

ECA Code of Ethics.

Guide to the National Quality Standard.

Standards Australia –

The Children’s Hospital at West mead – Safety factsheet – Cots and Cot Mattresses,

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – – Cot safety PDF

Australian Consumer Law 2011 – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 & the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

Safe sleep and rest practices from October 2017 (ACECQA)

Revised National Quality Standards

Red Nose






Policy created for First Idea Family Day Care Services, inclusive of changes to the National Quality Standards and Education and Care National Regulations

Get In Touch