The safest place for an infant to sleep is alone in a crib, says Health Canada

Health Canada has issued its recommendations for Safe Sleep Practices for Infants. In keeping with this initiative the MCH has advice about how to provide your child with a safe sleeping environment.

Visit the Health Canada Web site

It’s naptime or bedtime. What position is your baby sleeping in?

Put your baby to sleep on his back on a firm mattress. Avoid waterbeds, sofa and armchairs. The side position should also be avoided since a baby can easily turn on to his stomach. Healthy babies do not choke if they sleep on their back. When babies are able to turn from back to tummy on their own, it is safe to let them sleep in any position they want.

Tucking in your baby at night – creating a safe sleeping environment 

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib that meets current safety standards. It is OK to have your baby sleep in your bedroom.

Avoid pillows and pillow-like items in the crib. The danger is that your baby can end up with his face in it when he moves around or if he turns on to his side or on to his stomach.

Avoid comforters or any fluffy thick covers. These can easily get over your baby’s head when he moves. Sleepers and thick pyjamas are a better choice than blankets during the cold season. Alternatively, cover your baby with a single cotton or flannel blanket and add extra covers if necessary.

Babies need to be warm, but they should not become too hot. Make sure your baby’s room has a stable regulated temperature throughout the day and at night. If it is comfortable for you, it is most certainly comfortable for your baby. During the winter, if extra heating is needed, choose an electric heater with a thermostat.

To check if your baby is too hot, place your hand on the back of his neck. Your baby should not be sweating.

A smoke-free environment is essential 

It is very important to create a smoke-free environment for your child, both before and after he is born. If you or others in your household smoke, do not smoke around your children or in the rooms your children use. Do not smoke in the car.

It is vital your child’s environment be smoke-free. There is a higher number of children who develop respiratory infections and asthma if they are exposed to cigarette smoke. Additionally, smoke-free environments reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

SIDS prevention program

A province-wide program was started several years ago to raise awareness and reduce the risk factors of SIDS. Since that time, there has been a 50 percent decrease in the number of infant deaths in the province. Such encouraging results are the best reasons for following these recommendations for “Putting Baby to Bed”.