Throughout history, parents have used a wide range of items which they feel (or they are told) will benefit their babies’ sleep. In recent years products that are designed to 'promote infant sleep' have proliferated. Some of these products or sleep-aids have also become linked with increasing or decreasing babies' risk of SIDS, or otherwise affecting babies' health. There is no independent research evidence relating to most of these products, nor are there safety standards for most other than flammability of materials. However, sleep aids can provide much-needed rest for parents if they help to calm and settle babies. If sleep aids do help promote infant sleep and prevent night-time crying, there are positive results for both parents and babies’ overall well-being..
In this section we summarise the research evidence currently available regarding some of the most commonly used and recommended sleep aids or products: dummies (or pacifiers), swaddling, baby sleep bags, slings, and bed-side cribs/cots.