Can you used blanket’s in a baby’s cot?

Many parents believe that you are never “allowed” (believing it comes from Red Nose recommendation) blankets in their little one’s cots.

Key points on how much bedding should be placed on baby in a sleeping environment from Red Nose:

• Dress baby and use layers as you would dress or use layers yourself: to be comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold.

• Research has shown that baby’s risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly is increased if baby is sleeping on the tummy and that risk is even further increased if baby is sleeping on the tummy under heavy bedding or if baby’s head becomes covered by bedding in any position. Babies manage heat loss very efficiently when placed on the back to sleep with the head uncovered. Sleep baby on the back and keep baby’s head uncovered during sleep to reduce baby’s risk of sudden unexpected death

• Make up baby’s bed so baby sleeps at the bottom of the cot and the blankets can only reach as far as baby’s chest, ensuring baby cannot move down during sleep and get his/her head covered by bedding.

• Consider using a safe baby sleeping bag (one with fitted neck, armholes or sleeves and no hood).

• Dress baby for sleep and add/remove lightweight blankets to ensure baby’s back or tummy feels comfortably warm to the touch.

• Remove hats, bonnets, beanies and hooded clothing from baby’s head as soon as baby is indoors

Can we say exactly how many blankets to use when baby is placed to bed?

The simple answer is – No. Red Nose recommend that rather than state how many bedclothes can be safely placed on a baby, parents can work out the amount of bedding to be used after considering these factors:

• The room temperature where baby is sleeping.

• How hot does the baby feel? A good way to check baby’s temperature is to feel baby’s back or tummy (don’t worry if baby’s hands and feet feel cool – this is normal).

• Whether the baby has a cold or infection or another special need.• Consider how many layers that you as the baby’s carer are wearing comfortably. It is best to use light weight blankets in layers that can be added or removed easily according to the room temperature and which can be tucked underneath the mattress.


Once baby is rolling from back to belly then blankets should be removed and a sleeping bag used.

The Red Nose Safe Sleeping program is based on scientific evidence and was developed by Australian SUDI researchers, paediatricians, pathologists, and child health experts with input from overseas experts in the field. The 85% drop in SUDI deaths and the 9,967 lives that have been saved is testament to the effectiveness of the program.

For further information on Safe Sleeping phone 1300 998 698.

Suggested citation: Red Nose. National Scientific Advisory Group (NSAG). (2016). Information Statement: Bedding amount recommended for safe sleep. Melbourne: Red Nose.


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