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Safe Sleep

Creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby will reduce the risk of injuries and sleep related infant death, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Safety Tips

  • Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back
  • Place your baby in a crib, cradle or bassinet that meets Canadian Safety Standards
  • Place your baby to sleep next to the adult’s bed for the first 6 months of life
  • Provide a smoke free environment- both before and after birth
  • Breastfeeding for the first 6 months can decrease the chance of SIDS by up to 50%
  • Provide baby with a firm surface free of pillows, comforters and bumper pads1
 

Safe Sleep Quiz

1) Which baby is sleeping in a safe place? A or B?

Safe Sleep Quiz

The correct answers is A. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib, cradle or bassinet, which is next to your bed for the first 6 months. Toys, pillows, comforters, quilts and bumper pads, etc. can increase the risk of suffocation.

 

2) Which baby is sleeping in a safe place? A or B?

Safe Sleep Quiz

The correct answers is B. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib, cradle or bassinet, which is next to your bed for the first 6 months. Sharing the same sleep surface increases a baby’s risk of SIDS and suffocation. This risk is even higher for babies less than 4 months old.

 

Safe Sleep for Your Baby

Please take a few minutes to read this important information on safe sleep practices.

Download (PDF)

 

Health Connection

Call Health Connection to speak with a Public Health Nurse from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

  • 519-663-5317 ext. 2280
  • Monday - Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Child Safety Middlesex-London

 

Swaddling

Swaddling has commonly been used by parents to calm an infant and promote sleep. In certain circumstances (i.e. colic), swaddling can be helpful.  However, there is currently no safe way to swaddle an infant, so parents should use caution if they plan to swaddle their infant.2

Possible risks/problems associated with swaddling:

  • Overheating – If an infant is wrapped in thick or too many blankets the body temperature could raise to dangerous levels
  • Decreased arousal – It is known that this is a problem and may be one of the main reasons that infants die of SIDS3
  • Hip dysplasia – Infants that are swaddled too tightly may develop problems such as dislocation of the thighbone from the hip socket
  • Suffocation – If the blanket becomes loose it could cover the infant’s face
  • Inability to self soothe – Infant’s frequently use their hands to soothe themselves, which helps to regulate mood as well as settlle themselves back to sleep during a light sleep state.  If hands are wrapped this can make an infant more likely to be fussy and wake more often

 

What are the alternatives?

  • Sleep or swaddle sack – these allow an infants legs to move freely.  Safety note: the sack should be properly fitted to the size/age of the infant to prevent it from coming over the infants face.
  • Skin to skin - proven to be calming for infants, it helps to stabilise their body temperature, heart rate and stress hormones. Safety note: skin to skin should only be done when the  parent is awake.  
  • If an infant is too fussy to sleep there are many alternatives to comfort a crying baby that can be found here: https://www.healthunit.com/crying


 
Date of creation: February 27, 2013
Last modified on: September 30, 2019
 

References

1Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014) Safe Sleep for Your Baby. Retrieved from
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/dca-dea/stages-etapes/childhood-enfance_0-2/sids/index-eng.php
2RNAO Clinical Best Practice Guidelines. (2014) Working with Families to Promote Safe Sleep for Infants 0-12 Months of Age. Retrieved from
from https://rnao.ca/bpg/guidelines/safe-sleep-practices-infants
3American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017). Healthy Children.org. Swaddling, Is It Safe? Retrieved from
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Swaddling-Is-it-Safe.aspx