Sleep techniques developed to help babies and infants get more bed rest are safe for use in the long-term, according to a study in Melbourne. The research, which evaluated 225 six-year-olds whose parents had used techniques such as "camping out" and "controlled comforting", found no evidence that these methods had any harmful effect on a child's mental and behavioural health. Controlled comforting means parents leave their baby for increasingly longer periods before returning to comfort them when they cry, while camping out is when parents sit down next to their child and gradually move their chair out of the room. Both methods are intended to reduce infants' dependence on their parents for comfort when sleeping. "We have known for many years that these behavioural techniques are helping kids sleep better and that parents have a better night as a result," WebMD reports Marielys Rodriguez-Varela, a paediatrician at Miami Children's Hospital, as saying. "Now we can feel even more comfortable in that we know there are no long- term consequences for these children or their parents." Parents who are struggling to get their babies off to sleep are advised to try a variety of different techniques rather than sticking with just one.