For her own safety, your baby should sleep on her back, in her own crib.
Photo: Roxane Lauzé
Your baby should sleep on her back on a firm mattress in a crib that meets Canadian safety standards, from birth onwards (see Crib, cradle, and bassinet). The blanket should be the only extra thing in the crib.
Tragically, every year there are reports of deaths of babies who were sharing their parent’s bed. For this reason, the Canadian Paediatric Society states that during the first six months of life, the safest place for a newborn to sleep is in her parents’ room in her own crib.
Do you sleep with your baby?
To avoid an accident, make sure you:
- Do not sleep on a couch or similar piece of furniture (armchair) with your baby;
- Use a firm mattress (no soft surfaces or water beds);
- Keep enough distance between the mattress and wall that your baby doesn’t get stuck;
- Never let a newborn sleep alone in an adult bed.
In all circumstances:
- Never sleep with your baby if you have been drinking, taking medication that makes you drowsy, or have taken any other drugs (marijuana, crack, etc.);
- Never sleep with your baby if you are extremely tired (more than usual).
In these cases, it is much safer for your baby to be in her crib.
If you are unable to sleep well when you’re in the same room as your baby, you could have her sleep in a secure crib in another room. The quality of your sleep is very important.
Your baby must sleep in a safe place even when you are travelling. Never, under any circumstances, put your baby to bed in an adult bed and don’t use pillows. If you don’t have a crib, a blanket placed directly on the floor can act as a temporary safe bed for a baby who is less than 6 months old. Using a playpen or a mattress on the ground can be a solution for putting your baby to bed when you are travelling.
A car seat should be used only for transporting your baby in the car. Car seats and baby seats should not be used in place of a crib as they are not a safe place for sleeping.
Car seats must be used for all vehicle travel with your infant. During baby’s first month of life, try to avoid taking him on trips of more than one hour at a time. If you must take your newborn on a long trip, it is a good idea to take frequent breaks. Newborn babies have very little muscle tone and they tend to slide down in their seats, which can constrict their breathing. Stop every now and then to take your baby out of his seat and move him around.
Be careful; your infant is not safe in her baby carrier if you are sleeping or lying down while wearing the carrier.
When you go for walks, your baby will be safest and most comfortable sleeping on her back in a stroller. The back of the stroller should fold down flat or almost flat, and your baby should be properly strapped in.