New Daycare Sleep Rules Allow Childcare Staff to Overrule Parents

Soft toys and side sleeping will be banned for naps at daycare under new rules to protect babies from SIDS.

Childcare staff  around Australia will be told this week that when it comes to napping, mother (or father) no longer knows best.

From 1 October 2017 childcare staff can overrule parental wishes about baby sleep routine if they contradict safe sleep guidelines.

What this means for parents who use daycare is that cuddle toys and side sleeping is out. Staff can officially ignore requests to have a child sleep on his or her side or front. And swaddling is banned for babies older than three months or for those who can roll.

Safe sleeping overrules parents’ requests

The new childcare safe sleep rules follow an inquest into the 2012 death of a Queensland baby while in childcare.

While most parents already follow the Red Nose safe sleep guidelines, some do not. Having uniform standards in place means that there is no room for argument. The new childcare rules are not meant to attack the rights of parents, but instead make it clear that safe sleep comes first, no matter what.

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority plans to enforce these new rules from 1 October 2017. The national sleep crackdown will apply to more than 920,000 Australian children in childcare.

“Staff are required to follow Red Nose guidelines,”says ACECQA spokesman Mark Saint . “If a family’s beliefs and requests are in conflict with current evidence-based guidelines, the service will need to determine if there are exceptional circumstances that allow for alternate practices.”

finally baby's asleep

Sound sleeping guidelines are as follows:

  • No side or front sleeping. Babies will sleep on their back unless there is a valid medical reason not to 
  • No swaddles or wraps for babies over three months (unless endorsed by a doctor)
  • No cushions or toys in the cot

Tragic death of tot leads to childcare sleep guidelines

The new childcare safe sleep rules follow the inquest of Queensland baby Indianna Rose Hicks, who died from SIDS in 2012 while in family day care. She had been wrapped for her nap at the request of her mother, despite Red Nose guidelines against wrapping older infants.

The motive behind the new national sleep crackdown is simple – to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, even if that means overruling what the parents have requested. The new rules apply to long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten and outside schools hours care services in all states and territories, except Western Australia where  it comes into effect on 1 October 2018.

Red Nose spokeswoman Yvonne Amos says they welcome the changes and look forward to helping childcare providers make them work.

“This change will ensure consistency in child care centres across the country so that every child will be slept according to Red Nose’s safe sleeping guidelines, which have reduced the rate of sudden unexpected death in infancy in Australia by 80 per cent and saved 9,450 lives,” she says.

SIDS is still a major concern for all parents. According to Red Nose, 113 infants died from sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 2015.

To learn more about the current safe sleeping guidelines, please visit Red Nose.

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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