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Baby Pods and Newborn Sleep

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Baby Pods and Newborn Sleep

Newborn baby sleep

Baby nests or baby pods as they're also known - are baby mattresses with high sides. They offer a narrow and cosy sleeping area for your little one. They're becoming an increasingly popular choice over the classic Moses Basket or bassinet as a sleeping space for smaller babies. Reducing the startle reflex they mimic the womb helping the 4th-trimester baby feel secure.

Sleepyhead pod and Dock-A-Tot top the list of best sleep pods for young babies.

How safe are baby pods and newborn sleep?

Most of the websites selling sleeping pods have disclaimers. Stating never leave your baby to sleep in them unsupervised. They don't comply with SIDS/Red Nose recommendations about always sleep baby on a firm surface.

Red Nose Says

    • Sharing a sleep surface with a baby can increase the risk of SUDI. A considerable proportion of SUDI occurs on a shared sleeping surface.
    • Red Nose recommends sleeping a baby in a cot next to the parents’ bed for the first six to twelve months of life. This has been shown to lower the risk of SUDI.1-3
    • Babies most at risk of SUDI sharing a sleep surface are less than 3 months postnatal age, preterm or small for gestational age".

Dutch Mum Comments

A mum on the baby centre website shared these comments, "I'm not sure about the UK and I know quite a few people on this board swear by them. But here in the Netherlands, they are not authorized for sale due to safety concerns over suffocation risks. If the baby turns over and the soft material it is made of. The advice here says the inventor has not followed any safety guidelines in creating the product. And none of the safety claims has been scientifically proven. Only know because I looked into getting one myself but that scared me quite a bit".

And a wise word of caution from a Paediatrician.

Safety Standards

Another mum wrote, "I am hesitant to say anything as people can do what they like with their babies. However, while these things are convenient, just a note, there are no safety standards for bassinets, sleeping pods or nests of any kind. They haven't been tested or researched for SIDS. 

The SIDS guidelines recommend the sides of a sleeping environment (cot or ports cot) are 30cms high minimum. Most sleeping pods do not meet this and are not firm enough".

And after reading this sad story about a young baby who unfortunately died whilst sleeping in one I'm not going to recommend their use. So are sleeping pods safe? I'm saying a very loud NO NO NO. Not until sound research proves otherwise.


And over in the States the American Academy of Paediatrics is not endorsing them either. Research is currently underway.

I've been saying for quite some time, if baby products are sold in shops it doesn't come with a guarantee that it is SIDS safe. SIDS recommendations are unfortunately not law. At least not yet.

This is what a SIDS spokesperson had to say on the topic, "Jill Green, SIDS and Kids General Manager Research Advocacy and Change said sleeping a baby in a product with soft sides and padding increased risks for sudden unexpected death in infancy (SIDS or fatal sleeping accidents). If a baby rolls over on soft and puffy bedding the risk of sudden infant death is greatly increased because of face-down suffocation or rolling towards a side which can cause carbon dioxide re-breathing.”

“Sadly we feel there is a gap – parents are confronted with so many products, they believe something must be safe if its sold in Australian stores.

"That’s not fair to a parent. It’s up to the manufacturer and stores to have a duty of care to make sure what they are selling is a product that is safe in all circumstances."

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