Siksika Health Services recognizes Safe Sleep Week from March 13-17, which promotes safe sleep practices for parents and caregivers of young infants.
Good sleep habits are important for your baby’s physical health and emotional well-being and creating a safe sleep environment for your baby will lower the risk of injury and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
SIDS is when a baby (less than 1 year old), that seems healthy dies suddenly in their sleep, and the cause of death cannot be explained. We don’t know what causes SIDS, so it cannot be prevented, but there are things you can do to help lower the risk:
Being smoke-free, before and after birth, decreases your baby’s risk of SIDS. Smoking during pregnancy is one of the biggest risk factors for SIDS. One out of three SIDS deaths could be prevented if pregnant women did not smoke. Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of SIDS after your baby is born. Do not let anyone smoke around your baby – in the house, in the car or anywhere your baby spends time.
Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of SIDS. There are lots of reasons to breastfeed. One important reason is that breastfeeding can help protect your baby from SIDS. The longer you can breastfeed, the more protection your baby will have. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months, and should continue after complementary foods start.
The safest place for your baby to sleep or nap is in a crib, cradle or bassinet that meets current Canadian safety regulations. A safe infant sleep surface has:
Not recommended for sleep:
Overheating increases your baby’s risk of SIDS
Room sharing means placing your baby to sleep in their own safe sleep space – a crib, cradle or bassinet – which is placed in your room next to your bed. Room sharing is recommended for your baby’s first 6 months – the time when the risk of SIDS is the highest.
Bed sharing is when a baby sleeps with an adult or other child on the same sleep surface, such as an adult bed, sofa or armchair. Bed sharing increases a baby’s risk of SIDS and suffocation.
Some parents end up bed sharing with their baby, even though they do not plan to. It is important to understand the risks and know the situations that make bed sharing especially unsafe for babies, so you can take steps to avoid them. These situations put babies at especially high risk when bed sharing:
Parents and all caregivers – including grandparents, family members, childcare providers, babysitters and friends – can help keep babies safe by following the steps for safe sleep for every sleep – nap time and nighttime, at home, in childcare settings and when travelling.