Safe Sleep Principles

Reduce the risk of SIDS

If you’ve arrived here through our Finding Hope Children’s Book, you’re already part of a special journey towards a safer world for our little ones, free from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. At River’s Gift, our mission stems from a story of love, loss and legacy, inspired by River, who was with us for just 128 precious days.

Here you’ll learn about the essential safe sleep principles that every parent, grandparent and caregiver should know. Our guidelines are simple yet powerful, designed to protect the most vulnerable among us during their most peaceful moments – sleep.


How can I reduce my baby’s risk of SIDS?

There are many important measures that you can make to heavily reduce the risk of SIDS, or a fatal sleeping accident. By applying these measures, you’re ensuring a safe sleep environment for your baby.

  • Always lay your baby to sleep on their BACK. Once your baby can independently roll to their tummy and back to their back, you are safe to allow them to find their own position in sleep.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
  • Sleeping your baby in a mandatory standard cot (AS/NZS 2172) is highly recommended. It is ideal for your baby to sleep in the parents room for the first 12 months, in their own independent sleep space (cot).
  • Check that the mattress is firm and fits snugly into the cot, to avoid an entrapment risk between the edge of the cot and the mattress.
  • Eliminate all suffocation/choking hazards in the sleep environment. No cot bumpers, hats/bonnets, pillows, soft toys, loose blankets, sleep positional devices.
  • Don’t let your baby overheat.
  • Lay your baby with their feet at the foot of the cot.
  • Never sleep on the sofa or in a chair with your baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby for as long as possible.

Alarm based baby monitors

There is currently no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to validate that an alarm-based infant monitor will help save the life of an infant, where the absence of such a monitor would otherwise have resulted in an infant death.

Notwithstanding this, River’s Gift encourage the use of alarm-based monitors during all infant sleep periods, to be used strictly in conjunction with all evidence-based Safe Sleep Practices and Principles.

Additionally, we encourage regular in-person cot-side monitoring and interaction, to complement the use of an alarm-based infant monitor.