This information is from the Public Health Agency of Canada and as a sleep and behaviour consultancy, Little You follows these guidelines and encourages parent's to recognize the importance of safe sleep.
It provides parents and caregivers with information that can ensure that babies sleep safely, lowering the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Back to Sleep
Always place your baby on their back to sleep for both night and day sleep.
Studies show that once parents began placing their babies to sleep on their backs, the rate of SIDS dropped significantly. If you are worried that they will not be comfortable, remember that they will get used to any sleeping position they are accustomed to. It is critical to refrain from using any sleep positioners such as rolled up blankets or wedges, as they are known to increase the risk of SIDS.
Supervised tummy time with your baby will help them to develop healthy muscles and prevent plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). Offer plenty of tummy time opportunities to practice those skills.
Safe Sleep Environment
Offer a safe sleep environment that consists of a firm surface and no pillows, comforters, quilts or bumper pads.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib, cradle or bassinet that meet Canada or Americas current safety regulations. In order to ensure that the
products you are using for your baby are safe, check for a label that shows the date it was made. If it doesn’t have a label, it may not be safe. It is also recommended to make sure that the hardware is tight and that there are no damages to the product on a regular basis.
Babies can get trapped or suffocate if they sleep in a place that is not safe for them, such as an adult bed, armchair, or sofa. The risk becomes even higher if the baby is sleeping with an adult or another child in these places.
It is safest if your baby sleeps with nothing else but a fitted sheet and firm mattress. Soft bedding such as pillows, comforters, quilts and bumper pads can increase the risk of suffocation. Baby swings, bouncers, strollers and car seats are not made for unsupervised sleep. When your baby is sleeping in a sitting position, it can cause their head to fall forward, which makes it hard for them to breathe. Because of this, it is safe if you move your baby to a bassinet, cradle or crib to sleep when you arrive to your destination.
When placing your baby to sleep, you can avoid overheating by dressing them in clothing that they will be comfortable in at room temperature. A one-piece sleepwear is ideal for this. Babies do not need extra blankets because their movements can cause their head to be covered, therefore causing suffocation and overheating.
Where to Sleep
It is recommended to place your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet next to your bed.
Room sharing is recommended for the first 6 months of your baby’s life (which is when the risk of SIDS is highest). Room sharing with your baby is known to be easier to breastfeed and check on your baby at night. Room sharing means placing your baby to sleep in a bassinet, cradle or crib next to your bed, in your room.
Bed sharing or co-sleeping is when a baby sleeps on the same surface as an adult or another child, such as in their bed, sofa, or on an armchair. This can increase the chance of SIDS. When a baby shares the same sleep surface as an adult or another child, the risk of SIDS is especially higher for babies who are less than 4 months old.
The reasons why sharing the same sleep surface is considered unsafe is because a baby can suffocate if they become trapped between another persons body and the sleep surface, or even the wall or other objects. Another reason is because the adult or the child can roll over onto the baby or if the sleep surface has soft bedding such as pillows, comforters or quilts, this can be unsafe for the baby.
The risk of SIDS and suffocation is especially higher if a baby shares the same sleep surface with a caregiver who has taken drugs, is very tired, who smokes or has taken alcohol or medications that make them sleepy.
Breastfeeding can lower the risk of SIDS.
Any amount of breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the rate of SIDS, and is recommended.
Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your baby’s life can lower the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
Provide a smoke-free environment both before and after your child is born.
One of the greatest risks for SIDS is the exposure to smoking during pregnancy. 1/3 SIDS deaths could be prevented if pregnant women did not smoke. Second-hand smoke is also known to increase the risk of SIDS after your baby is born. To lower the risk, you can avoid smoking near your baby or anywhere near where your baby sleeps or spends time.