Safe Sleeping Environment

Good sleep habits are important to your baby’s physical and emotional well-being.

Your child’s sleeping environment-the place where he or she sleeps, the type of crib or bed in which he or she sleeps, the type of mattress used, etc.-is an essential part of developing good sleeping habits.

By creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby, you will reduce his or her risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which occurs when a baby under the age of one year dies unexpectedly in his or her sleep. You reduce the risk of SIDS if you place your baby on his or her back to sleep.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that babies under one year of age sleep on their backs in cribs that meet Canadian government safety standards. Babies should not sleep in their parents’ crib, which is called bed sharing. Adult beds are not safe for babies. Many large-scale studies have shown that sharing a crib can put babies at greater risk of entrapment and suffocation.

If you want your baby to stay close to you at night, you can put a crib in your room next to your bed. This is called the cododo. Many mothers find that this makes it easier to breastfeed at night. This type of sleep arrangement may also further reduce the risk of SIDS.

Regardless of your choice, you need to know the following facts so that you and your baby can get a good and safe night’s sleep.

General guidelines

During the first year of life, the safest place for a child is on his back in his own bunk.

When your baby is turning on his or her own, there is no need to force him or her to lie on his or her back to sleep. Avoid foam cushions or rolled towels to keep your baby on his or her side.

Infants should never sleep on pillows, blown mattresses, water beds, cushions, soft materials or loose bedding. Even when traveling, your baby should have a safe place to sleep. Car seats and baby carriers should not be used to replace a crib.

Your baby should sleep in a quiet, dark, cool room.

Consider dressing your baby in a sleepsuit so you don’t need a blanket to keep him warm.

Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke. Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and those who continue to be exposed to cigarette smoke after birth are at greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Never take a nap with your baby, never spend the night with your baby in bed, and never let your baby sleep alone on a couch, sofa or chair because of the increased risk of suffocation according to helpful resources by LAWeekly.

Babies under one year of age should sleep on their backs in their bunks.

Lay your baby on his or her back on a firm, flat surface. Don’t use a comforter (a comforter filled with feathers), cozy blankets, thick blankets, padded contours or items that can be used as pillows in your baby’s crib.

Do not leave a bottle of milk or juice in your baby’s crib.

Establish a comforting bedtime routine that is both consistent and predictable.

Try to keep nap and bedtime constant, even on weekends.

Allow 10 to 30 minutes to do something special with your baby before bedtime. Depending on your baby’s age, this can be quiet conversation, quiet play or reading.

Let your baby fall asleep alone so he can learn to comfort himself.

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