Safe sleep tips
The golden rules
Here are some of the most important things for parents and caregivers to know about children's safety when sleeping:
- The safest place for an infant to sleep is alone in a crib that meets current safety regulations.
- Never let infants sleep on standard beds, water beds, air mattresses, futons, sofas, armchairs, or in cribs with soft bedding, bumper pads, stuffed toys or pillows.
- Always place your infant on his or her back to sleep -- this reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Provide a smoke-free environment for your child both day and night.
- Place your baby's crib in your bedroom for the first 6 months.
- Products such as carriages, strollers, car seats, infant swings, bouncers or playpens are not intended for infant sleep and should not be used for extended periods.
- Do not allow your baby to sleep in an upright or semi-upright position -- when asleep his or her head can fall forward and make breathing difficult.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant. The cause of death is unexplained even after a full investigation.
Across Canada, except Ontario, 1 out of every 3,456 infants born between 2007 and 2011 died of SIDS. In 2011, the SIDS rate was 0.3 out of every 1,000 live births.
Bumper pads, quilts and stuffed toys can cause suffocation
Anything placed in a crib may reduce the flow of oxygen to your baby and increase the risk of suffocation. Keep the sleeping area clear. Always read the instructions that come with children's products and check regularly for product recalls.
Bed sharing, also called co-sleeping, is when another child or an adult shares a sleeping surface with an infant. There is no evidence to suggest bed sharing reduces the risk of SIDS -- and in fact can pose other dangers. Risks to your infant include:
- Becoming trapped between your body and the sleeping surface, a wall or other object
- Falling from an elevated surface
- Suffocating on soft bedding material such as pillows or comforters
What your baby should wear to bed
Dress your infant in actual sleepwear when putting him or her to bed. Most day clothes do not meet Health Canada's flammability requirements for sleepwear.
The Safe Sleep for Your Baby brochure provides parents and caregivers with up to date information on how to create safe sleeping environments for infants.
The Safe Sleep for Your Baby video provides steps to create a safe sleep environment for your baby and lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
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