Baby nests, nursing pillows, high chairs, baby swings and strollers may be designed for babies, but are not consistent with protecting babies from sleep-related deaths, according to a new Safe Sleep Resources booklet.
Jointly published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and Baby’s Breath Canada, the new booklet is designed to provide parents and caregivers with information on how to best mitigate risks and protect babies from sleep-related deaths.
To lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other infant deaths during sleep, the booklet advises that the safest place for babies to sleep is in a crib, cradle or bassinet located in the same room as the caregiver for the first six months. Babies should be placed on their back to sleep, and the safest sleep spaces are firm, flat surfaces with no hazards such as gaps between mattresses and sides, soft bedding, bumper pads, pillows or toys.
While babies often fall asleep in high chairs, swings, bouncers, strollers and car seats, the booklet notes that sleeping in a sitting position “can cause your baby’s head to fall forward, which can make it hard to breathe.” Babies who fall asleep in these locations should be moved to a crib, cradle or bassinet.
Similarly, bed-side sleepers and adult beds “increase a baby’s risk for falling or being trapped and suffocated. The risk is even higher if the baby shares the surface with an adult or other child.”
The booklet also recommends breastfeeding and living in smoke-free environments to improve baby sleep safety.