Safe Sleep

One of the biggest concerns of new and expecting parents is, “Will my baby sleep?” There are many books, resources and products aimed specifically at infant sleep and millions of dollars are spent each year on marketing these products. However, as a parent you must look at these materials with a watchful eye, keeping your infant’s safety as your primary focus.

Many products aimed at helping your baby fall asleep faster, better and longer are, in fact, not considered safe for infant sleep and are not regulated by the Government of Canada. Use of many of these products and practices may actually increase your infant’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“The actual cause or causes of SIDS is unknown. In 2004, SIDS accounted for five per cent of all infant deaths (birth to one year of age) and 17.2 per cent of postneonatal deaths (28 days to one year of age). SIDS can occur at any time during the first year of life but peaks between two and four months, with fewer SIDS deaths occurring after six months.” (Public Health Agency of Canada – Joint Statement on Safe Sleep, 2011)

This is an alarming for new parents to read, but there are some practical ways to reduce the risk of SIDS:

Breastfeeding Breastfeeding has been linked to a lower incidence of SIDS.

Provide a smoke-free environment – Smoking (both during pregnancy and after baby is born) has been shown to increase the risk of SIDS, as well as many other illnesses.

Back to sleep ALWAYS put your baby to sleep on their back and provide lots of time on their tummy when they are awake.

Provide a safe sleep environment – Infants should sleep in their parents’ room for the first six months of life, in a crib, cradle or bassinette that meets current Canadian regulations with no extra items (including pillows, toys, heavy blankets, bumper pads). Infants should not sleep in car seats, swings, bouncers, play pens, strollers or any other product marketed for infant sleep that is not a crib, cradle or bassinette.

Soothers Use of a pacifier appears to provide a protective effect against SIDS. However, do not force your infant to take a soother if they’re disinterested.

The following websites were used when researching this article and all are excellent resources for further information regarding SIDS and safe infant sleep practices: enfance_0-2/sids/ssb_brochure-eng.php

Yvonne is a foster parent for the Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex and birth mother of two children.


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

News Letter