According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in his or her own crib.
Here's some advice on choosing a crib and mattress for your newborn.
- Choose a crib that meets the federal government regulations for cribs and cradles. Cribs built before 1986 do not meet these regulations and are not safe.
- When you assemble the crib, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Check that there is less than six cm (two inches.) of space between the vertical slats (bars) on the sides, head, and foot of the crib.
- Use a crib mattress that is no thicker than 15 cm (six inches) that fits the frame tightly. If you can stick two fingers between the crib and mattress easily, the fit is too loose; your baby could get stuck between the mattress and the bars.
- The mattress should be firm. If it's worn or has a tear, it’s dangerous. Don’t use it.
- The mattress support should hold firmly and be checked often. You can do this by shaking the mattress support, thumping the mattress from the top, and pushing hard on the support from underneath. Make sure all screws, locks, and clamps are tight.
Warning: Dropside Cribs! A crib’s dropside plastic hardware can break or bend. The dropside can also be improperly installed, resulting in broken plastic parts. These problems can cause the dropside to come apart in one or more corners. If the dropside falls off, it creates a space that your baby can fall into.
Follow the directions carefully during crib assembly to ensure the dropside is installed correctly. Check your dropside plastic hardware regularly. Some manufacturers provide kits to secure the dropside safely.
Babies don’t need much bedding. To ensure your baby’s safe and comfy, follow these guidelines:
- Use either a quilted crib pad (one side is waterproof) or a mattress cover placed under the sheet to protect the crib mattress.
- Don't use plastic sheets. They can interfere with breathing.
- Use a fitted sheet over the crib mattress.
- Do not use sheepskins, pillows, quilts, comforters, stuffed toys, or bumper pads in the crib. These items can prevent good air circulation around your baby’s face.
- A sleeper and a light blanket or a blanket weight sleeper should be enough to keep your baby comfortable.
- Top sheets are not recommended until your child is an older toddler. Babies can get tangled in a top sheet.
- Never cover your baby’s face or head with blankets.
A baby is safest when put down to sleep on their back, in a crib or bassinet that meets Canadian safety standards, with no quilts, pillows, stuffed toys or other soft material in the crib.
Warning: Co-sleepers! A co-sleeper is a type of crib that attaches to the side of an adult bed. These may pose a danger of suffocation, as infants have been trapped between the edge of the mattress and the side of the co sleeper.
Babies are safest when put down to sleep on their backs, in a crib or bassinet that meets Canadian safety standards, with no quilts, pillows, stuffed toys or other soft material in the crib.
Resources and Links:
HealthLink BC: Crib Safety