As of 1st October 2017 new policies are in play regarding childcare sleep and rest practices.
After the tragic SIDS death of child in care in 2012, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority has responded to recommendations by adopting the evidence-based principles and guidelines set out by Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) for sleeping and rest practices in children’s education and care services. These changes have been incorporated into the National Quality Framework.
Essentially, services must adhere to safe sleep practices, even if they conflict with requests from parents.
For example, if a parent requests that a baby be put to sleep with a soft toy or sleep on their side, the carers/educators can, and should, refuse as these practices go against Red Nose recommendations.
Exceptional circumstances such as medical conditions may allow for a deviation from safe sleep guidelines, however only after a risk assessment and written support from the baby or child’s medical practitioner.
What does this mean for my child?
The new rules apply to all education and care services, including long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten and outside schools hours care services. They are applicable in all Australian states and territories from 1st October 2017, except Western Australia where it comes into effect on 1st October 2018.
The group most likely to be affected are young babies where there are strict guidelines regarding bedding, wrapping and soothers.
Depending on your child’s sleeping preferences, there is likely to be minimal impact to their care, apart from greater peace of mind that your child is sleeping safely!
If you are concerned about what the changes mean, talk to your centre’s director or your child’s educator.
You can find full details on the safe sleeping guidelines and current evidence-based practices here.