From the 01 Oct, a new National Regulation will be put in place that will give Educators the right to overrule parents requests for their child's sleep arrangements to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Educators would not be expected to endorse practices requested by a family, if they differ with Red Nose recommendations. For example, a parent may request the service wrap or swaddle their baby while they are sleeping. However, according to Red Nose recommendations, this practice should be discontinued when a baby starts showing signs that they can begin to roll (usually around four to six months of age, but sometimes earlier). Nominated supervisors and educators should be confident to refer to the service’s Sleep and Rest Policies and Procedures if parents make requests that are contrary to the safety of the child. Child safety should always be the first priority.
If a family’s beliefs and requests are in conflict with current recommended evidence-based guidelines, the service will need to determine if there are exceptional circumstances that allow for alternate practices. For example, with some rare medical conditions, it may be necessary for a baby to sleep on his or her stomach or side, which is contrary to Red Nose recommendations. It is expected that in this scenario the service would only endorse the practice, with the written support of the baby’s medical practitioner. The service may also consider undertaking a risk assessment and implementing risk minimisation plans for the baby.
An inquest into the death of Indianna Rose Hicks in 2012 found Indianna, who was five months old when she died suddenly and unexpectedly while in the care of an educator, died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A recommendation was made via the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement on proposed options for changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF), that Regulation 168 in the National Regulations, ‘Education and care service must have policies and procedures’ be amended to include a requirement for a policy on ‘Sleep and rest for children and infants’, including matters set out in Regulation 81 (Sleep and rest).
- ACECQA, Safe Sleep and Rest Practices
- Ten Play, New Rules Allow Childcare Workers To Overrule Parents