Safe Sleep and Your Baby
Updated July 22nd, 2018
Why baby’s sleep space is important
Parents are often surprised to learn that 1-2 infants die unexpectedly in their sleep every month in Manitoba. This can be due to suffocation, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or other causes. The best prevention is to provide a safe sleep space for your baby for every sleep and nap.
Note: Other videos may be recommended by the host channel (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo). These suggestions may be based on your personal search history and other factors. The WRHA does not control these suggestions and is not responsible for and may not endorse the content.
Follow these six safe sleep tips until your child is one year old:
1. Choose a safe sleep space
- Choose a crib, cradle or bassinette that meets Canadian safety regulations. The mattress should be the right size, firm, clean and flat. See Health Canada’s Is Your Child Safe? Sleep Time.
- Other safe sleeping spaces include a sturdy box or carton, a “baby box”, a drawer or laundry basket. To cover the bottom:
- cut a piece of firm cardboard that fits the inside of the sleep container
- wrap a light blanket around the cardboard and tape it to the back
- place the wrapped cardboard in the container to use as a firm sleep surface
- Avoid soft surfaces or bulky bedding.
- Nothing extra in the crib such as pillows, bumper pads, sheep skin, toys, quilts or sleep wedges.
- Never let your baby sleep on an adult bed, sofa or armchair or in a car seat. These are unsafe for sleeping.
2. Baby sleeps in room with parent or caregiver
- It is safest for your baby to sleep in:
- her own sleep space AND
- in your room for at least the first 6 months, ideally for the first year.
- Sharing a bed with your baby (often called bed-sharing or co-bedding) is not recommended as it puts the child at risk of suffocation, SIDS, strangulation and falls. For information on safer bed-sharing, click here.
3. Place baby on back for every sleep
- Place baby on her back to sleep for every sleep. That means no sleeping on side or tummy.
4. Avoid overheating
- Choose one piece sleepers that are the right thickness for the room temperature.
- If you find the room temperature comfortable, your baby will too.
- Avoid extra blankets as they can cause overheating and suffocation.
- If using a sleep sack, choose one with fitted neck and armholes and no hood.
- If using a blanket,
- look for one made of light breathable fabric
- place baby in crib with feet at bottom of crib
- tuck blankets under baby’s armpits and tuck in firmly on both sides and at bottom end of crib.
5. Breastfeed baby
- Any amount of breastfeeding can help protect your baby from SIDS. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months can lower the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
- If you breastfeed your baby in bed, it is safest to return him to the crib for sleep.
6. Keep baby smoke free before & after birth
- This is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS. Smoking is responsible for one in three SIDS deaths.
Avoid smoking during pregnancy.
- It is best to keep your home or anywhere your baby sleeps or spends time smoke-free. Exposure to smoking in early infancy increases the risk of SIDS
- The risk of SIDS increases when the mother smokes; this is even higher when the father also smokes.
- SIDS risk increases with:
- the number of smokers in the home
- the number smokers in the same room as the baby
- the number of cigarettes smoked
- and daily hours the baby is exposed to smoke.
- No smoking at all is best for you and your baby, but lowering the amount of cigarettes you smoke can lower the risk.
- If you smoke, it is best to do it outside, and then change your clothes and wash your hands before handling your baby.
- In Manitoba it is illegal to smoke in a car when children under 16 are present.
- Are you thinking about quitting smoking? Talk to your health care provider or contact Smokers’ Helpline (phone 1-877-513-5333)
SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) How to keep your sleeping baby safe: AAP Policy Explained