A safe sleep environment for your infant is an important step in reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The exact causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are unknown. However, research has indicated that creating a safe sleep environment cannot only help reduce the risk of SIDS but other accidental related causes of infant death, such as entrapment, suffocation or strangulation.
- Your baby should sleep next to your bed for at least the first six months of life, on a separate sleep surface in an age appropriate crib, cradle or bassinet that meets current Canadian safety regulations. Baby seats, swings, car seats, bouncers, strollers, slings and playpens are not safe substitutes for a crib. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends to not share a bed with your baby.
- Provide your baby with a safe sleep environment that has a firm surface with no pillows, comforters, quilts, stuffed animals or bumper pads. Positional devices or other loose or soft bedding materials could suffocate or smother an infant. This includes waterbeds, air mattresses, couches/sofas or other soft materials. Babies can turn onto their side or stomach and bury their face in these soft materials, not getting enough air to breathe.
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, at naptime and night time.
- Dress your infant in comfortable fitted one-piece sleepwear.
- Ensure that the room temperature is comfortable for everyone. If the room temperature is comfortable for you, then it is comfortable for your baby. Overheating is a risk for SIDS. Swaddling babies in extra blankets causes an unnecessary risk of overheating, entrapment and suffocation.
- Provide a smoke-free environment before and after your baby is born. Smoking during pregnancy exposes unborn babies to tobacco smoke, which is one of the greatest risks for SIDS. Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of SIDS after your baby is born. Not smoking at all is best but decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke during pregnancy can also lower the risk of SIDS. If you, your partner, family members or friends smoke, smoke outside and away from your baby.
- Alcohol use and substance use pose a risk for SIDS and other unintended injuries in infants. It is safer to ask your partner or someone you trust to care for your infant until you are completely sober and not under the influence of substances.
- Breastfeeding can protect your baby. While any amount of breastfeeding for any duration provides a protective effect against SIDS, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months offers greater protection.
- Immunize your infant. This gives your infant that extra protection and immunity to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases and to stay healthy.
Services related to this information:
811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555