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Safe Sleeping

August 14, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Mom with sleeping baby on her chest


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of a healthy baby under the age of one.  

You can reduce the risk of SIDS and accidental death by providing your baby with a safe sleeping environment. 

Use this guide to keep your baby safe during every sleep - nap time, night time, home or away:

1. Back to sleep

  • Place your baby on his or her back for every sleep.
  • When your baby begins to roll over, that's OK.  There's is no need to return your baby to his or her back during the sleep. 

2. Firm sleep surface that is free of hazards

  • Use a crib, cradle, or bassinet with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet. 
  • Do not use bumper pads, pillows, sheepskins or heavy blankets or have toys in the sleep area. 
  • Never let your baby sleep on an adult bed, couch, armchair or bean-bag chair. 

3. Avoid tobacco smoke

  • Avoid smoking and second hand smoke during pregnancy.
  • Keep your baby’s environment smoke free. 

4. Room-sharing

  • Share a room with your baby for the first six months.
  • Sharing a bed with your baby is not recommended. 

5. Breastfeeding

  • Breastfeed your baby - it reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • If you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed, put your baby back into his or her crib for sleep. 

6. Avoid overheating

  • Keep baby warm but not hot. The temperature of the room should be comfortable for an adult. 
  • Do not use hats or toques indoors. 
  • Do not swaddle your baby.
  • A sleep sack, blanket-weight sleeper, or light blanket should be all that is needed to keep your baby warm.

7. Approved crib, cradle or bassinette

  • See the Canadian safety regulations for cribs, cradles, and bassinets. 
  • Place your baby’s crib away from windows, heat sources, lamps, curtains, blinds, and electrical plugs and cords.

Co-sleepers: A co-sleeper is a type of crib that attaches to the side of an adult bed. Co-sleepers may pose a danger of suffocation, as babies have been trapped between the edge of the mattress and the side of the co-sleeper. 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.

Not for Sleeping: Car Seats, Play Pens and other Equipment

  • Car seats are designed for transporting infants safely while in a moving vehicle. If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, transfer your baby to a safe sleep surface when you are finished traveling. 
  • Play pens, play yards, strollers, swings, and other infant carriers aren’t designed for babies to sleep in. If your baby falls asleep in any of these, watch your baby until he or she can be moved to a safe sleep surface.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Quick Tips: Getting Baby to Sleep
HealthLink BC: Safe Sleeping for Babies

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Comments (2)

Mother Joe

Posted on Wednesday September 4, 2013 a 9:02am

How about twins? can they share bed together before 6 months old?

hurrell's picture

Healthy Families BC

Posted on Wednesday September 11, 2013 a 3:47pm

Hi Mother Joe. Research on the risks and benefits of co-bedding twins (twins sleeping in the same bed) has not been conducted in the home setting. If parents decide to co-bed twins, they should follow the same safe sleep practices and avoid placing barriers or props between the infants. For more information: Thanks for your question.


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