Policy: Sleep

In this article we run through the key principals of our sleeping policy to ensure that babies and children are safe at all times

Key Points

  • Children must be kept at least 1 ft apart to avoid H&S risk in a room with closely monitored temperature that should not exceed 22 degrees celsius or fall below 18 degrees celsius 
  • Children must only be placed on their backs and moved back to be on their backs if they roll during sleep
  • Never put them to sleep with a bottle to self-soothe
  • Children must be checked every 5 mins if 6 months or under, and every 10 minutes for those over 6 months to avoid incidence of SIDs and should never be left alone in a room unattended
  • These sleep checks are done on EY Log - managers need to download these reports at the end of each week and store on the Schools team drives>Health & safety>Sleep Logs in a chronological format and review to look for incidence of breach.


At Hatching Dragons we aim to ensure that all children have enough sleep to support their development and natural sleeping rhythms in a safe environment.

The safety of babies’ sleeping is paramount. Our policy follows the advice provided by The Cot Death Society and Lullaby Trust to minimise the risk of Sudden Infant Death. We make sure that:

  • Babies are placed on their backs to sleep, feet to foot (with their feet towards the bottom of the cot) if a baby has rolled onto their tummy, you should turn them onto their back again, however once a baby can roll from back to front and back again, on their own, they can be left to find their own position
  • Babies/toddlers are never put down to sleep with a bottle to self-feed
  • Babies/toddlers are monitored visually when sleeping. Checks are recorded on the sleep chart every 10 minutes and babies are never left in a separate sleep room without staff supervision at all times
  • All children will be given 10 minute sleep checks as a standard safety measure to ensure that all children are adequately monitored and supervised at all times
  • When monitoring, the staff member looks for the rise and fall of the chest and if the sleep position has changed
  • As good practice we monitor babies under six months or a new baby sleeping during the first few weeks every five minutes until we are familiar with the child and their sleeping routines, to offer reassurance to them and families. 

We provide a safe sleeping environment by:

  • Children sleep mats are to be placed at least 5 inches apart side by side and at least 1ft apart head to head, allowing space for the practitioners / staff to easily walk between the children without risk of injury. Children should sleep head to toe to minimise the children’s cross infection risk. 
  • Monitoring the room temperature
  • Using clean, light bedding/blankets and ensuring babies are appropriately dressed (outer clothing should be removed ie hooded jackets)  for sleep to avoid overheating. Blankets should cover the child / baby no higher than their waist 
  • Only using safety-approved cots or other suitable sleeping equipment (i.e. pods or mats) that are compliant with British Standard regulations, and mattress covers are used in conjunction with a clean fitted sheet. Sleep mats will be cleaned with anti bacterial spray daily
  • Only letting babies sleep in prams if they lie flat and we have parents’ written permission
  • Not using cot bumpers or cluttering cots with soft toys, although comforters will be given where required
  • Keeping all spaces around cots and beds clear from hanging objects i.e. hanging cords, blind cords, drawstring bags
  • Ensuring every baby/toddler is provided with clean bedding sleep cards with children’s pictures should be used to identify the children’s bedding and for the children to find their sleep mat, which will be stored in children’s baskets / cupboard with the child’s sleep card (bedding should be folded inwards if stored in cupboard).  Bedding is washed weekly and if soiled it will be washed immediately
  • Transferring any baby who falls asleep while being nursed by a practitioner to a safe sleeping surface to complete their rest
  • Having a no smoking policy.

We ask parents to complete sheets on their child’s sleeping routine with the child’s key person when the child starts at nursery and these are reviewed and updated at timely intervals. If a baby has an unusual sleeping routine or a position that we do not use in the nursery i.e. babies sleeping on their tummies, we will explain our policy to the parents and not usually offer this unless the baby’s doctor has advised the parent of a medical reason to do so.in which case we would ask them to sign to say they have requested we adopt a different position or pattern on the sleeping babies form.

We recognise parents’ knowledge of their child with regard to sleep routines and will, where possible, work together to ensure each child’s individual sleep routines and well-being continues to be met. However, staff will not force a child to sleep or keep them awake against his or her will. They will also not usually wake children from their sleep.

Staff will discuss any changes in sleep routines at the end of the day and share observations and information about children’s behaviour when they do not receive enough sleep.

Sleeping twins: We follow the advice from The Lullaby Trust regarding sleeping twins.

Further information can be found at: www.lullabytrust.org.uk