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Safe Sleeping


Mom with sleeping baby on her chest


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of a healthy baby under the age of one.  

You can reduce the risk of SIDS and accidental death by providing your baby with a safe sleeping environment. 

Use this guide to keep your baby safe during every sleep - nap time, night time, home or away:

1. Back to sleep

  • Place your baby on their back for every sleep.
  • When your baby begins to roll over, that's OK.  There's is no need to return your baby to their back during the sleep. 

2. Firm sleep surface that is free of hazards

  • Use a crib, cradle, or bassinet with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet. 
  • Do not use bumper pads, pillows, sheepskins or heavy blankets or have toys in the sleep area.

3. Avoid tobacco smoke

  • Avoid smoking and second hand smoke during pregnancy.
  • Keep your baby’s environment smoke free. 

4. Room-sharing

  • Share a room with your baby for the first six months.
  • If you are thinking of bedsharing, have a look at the following resources:

5. Breastfeeding

  • Breastfeed your baby - it reduces the risk of SIDS.

6. Avoid overheating

  • Keep baby warm but not hot. The temperature of the room should be comfortable for an adult. 
  • Do not use hats or toques indoors. 
  • Do not swaddle your baby.
  • A sleep sack, blanket-weight sleeper, or light blanket should be all that is needed to keep your baby warm.

7. Approved crib, cradle or bassinette

  • See the Canadian safety regulations for cribs, cradles, and bassinets. 
  • Place your baby’s crib away from windows, heat sources, lamps, curtains, blinds, and electrical plugs and cords.

Co-sleepers: A co-sleeper is a type of crib that attaches to the side of an adult bed. Co-sleepers may pose a danger of suffocation, as babies have been trapped between the edge of the mattress and the side of the co-sleeper. A baby is safest when put down to sleep on their back, in a crib or bassinet that meets Canadian safety standards, with no quilts, pillows, stuffed toys or other soft material in the crib.


  • Don't leave your baby asleep in a car seat once you have reached your destination. Car seats are designed for safety when traveling in a car. Take your baby out of the car seat once you have reached your destination and put them to sleep in a safe place. Play pens, play yards, strollers, swings and other infant carriers aren’t designed for babies to sleep in. If your baby falls asleep in any of these, watch your baby until they can be moved to a safe sleep surface.
  • Don't fall asleep with your baby on a couch or recliner. If you doze off, your baby could slip between your body and the cushions and suffocate, or fall to the floor. Have a baby bed or bassinet ready, or ask someone else to take the baby if you’re getting sleepy.
  • Don't leave your baby alone in an adult bed. Adult beds are not designed to keep babies safe. Even a very young infant can wiggle in to a dangerous position.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Safe Sleeping for Babies

Last Updated: January 30, 2018