Safe sleep: Naptime, nighttime, every time

Be a safe sleeper: Know what you can do to keep your baby safe while sleeping. Be sure to share safe sleep information with everyone who cares for your baby.

It is important to practice safe sleep for your baby right from birth. Be aware of your baby's sleep signals and transfer them to a safe sleep space before they fall asleep somewhere that might not be safe.

Follow these steps for every sleep - nap time and nighttime, at home, in childcare settings and when travelling:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Once your baby can roll over on their own, you don't have to move them onto their back if they roll on to their side or tummy while sleeping.
  • Provide a sleep space that is flat, firm and free of soft bedding, extra padding, bumper pads, stuffed toys or pillows. The safest place for your baby to sleep is alone in a crib, cradle or bassinet - including a bassinet attachment for a playpen - that meets current Canadian safety regulations.
  • Place your baby's crib, cradle or bassinet in your bedroom for the first 6 months.

Other important steps to lower your baby’s risk of sudden infant death:

  • Provide a smoke-free environment for your baby, before and after they are born. Protect your baby from cannabis smoke and vaping, too.
  • Breastfeed your baby.

Babies - especially those under 4 months - have poor neck control and are at greater risk of suffocating. Give your baby room to breathe. Remember to:

  • Remove all soft objects from your baby's sleep space - like quilts, blankets, bumper pads, pillows, sleep positioners, stuffed toys, nursing pillows, loungers and baby nests.
  • Never let your baby sleep on a waterbed, air mattress, futon, sofa, armchair or any surface with a memory foam topper or extra padding.
  • Do not let your baby sleep on a surface that is not flat, like inclined sleepers, baby hammocks and crib wedges. They can cause your baby to move into a position where they cannot breathe.
  • Do not use baby swings, bouncers, strollers, car seats and high chairs for sleep. Sleeping in an upright, semi-upright or seated position can cause your baby's head to fall forward and make it hard to breath.
  • Do not zip up your coat around your baby in a baby carrier or sling. It increases your baby's risk of suffocation and overheating. If you use a baby sling or carrier, be sure to use it safely: keep your baby's face visible at all times.

Fast Fact

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is when a baby that seems perfectly healthy dies unexpectedly in their sleep, and the cause of death cannot be explained. We do not know what causes SIDS, so it cannot be prevented, but following these safe sleep tips will lower your baby's risk.

Accidental suffocation during sleep time can be prevented

Anything placed in a crib, cradle or bassinet may reduce the flow of oxygen to your baby and increase the risk of suffocation. Surround your baby with love - that's all. Keep your baby's sleep space clear. Practice the ABCs of Safe Sleep - Alone on my Back in my Crib, cradle or bassinet.

Always read the instructions that come with children's products and check regularly for product recalls.

Bed sharing

Bed sharing is when an adult or other child shares a sleeping surface with a baby. Bed sharing increases a baby's risk of SIDS and can pose other dangers. Risks to your baby include:

  • Becoming trapped between your body and the sleeping surface, a wall or other object
  • Falling from an elevated surface
  • Suffocating on soft bedding such as pillows, comforters or duvets.

If you bed share with your baby, even occasionally, make sure you know the situations that make it especially unsafe, so you can take steps to avoid them. And be sure to follow the other steps for safe sleep, including:

  • Always put your baby on their back
  • Give your baby a sleep surface that is firm and flat, with no gaps where the baby can get trapped
  • Keep soft loose bedding or other objects well away from the baby
  • Dress your baby so they do not overheat

Did you know...

What should your baby wear to sleep?

Your baby is safest when they sleep in simple, fitted sleepwear-like a sleeper. It should keep your baby comfortable at room temperature, so they do not get too hot. Overheating increases your baby's risk of SIDS. Babies do not need hats or blankets either. Many parents use sleep sacks instead of a blanket. If you use one, make sure it is the right size for your baby.

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