Sleeping safely

Essential information to rememberFor her own safety, your baby should sleep on her back, in her own crib.

Photo: Aurélie Maheux-Dubuc

Starting from birth, your baby should sleep on her back. Once she begins turning over on her own, you can let her sleep in the position she prefers without any danger.

Your baby should always sleep on a firm mattress and in a crib, cradle, or bassinet that meets Canadian government safety standards (see Crib, cradle, and bassinet). Aside from a tight fitted sheet, there should be nothing on the bed. If you think your child needs to be covered, use a light blanket or a sleep sack suitable for the child’s height. Make sure your baby isn’t too hot.

Recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society

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.

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.

Do you sleep with your baby?

To avoid an accident, make sure you

  • Always lay your baby on her back
  • Use a firm mattress (no soft surfaces or water beds)
  • Remove soft bedding and other items (e.g., pillows, comforters)
  • Leave enough distance between the mattress and wall that your baby can’t get stuck
  • Never let your baby sleep alone in an adult bed
  • Do not sleep on a couch or similar piece of furniture (armchair) with your baby

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

In these cases, it is much safer for your baby to be in her crib.

Sleeping away from home

Your baby must sleep in a safe place, even when you are away from home. 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 mattress placed on the ground or a playpen are two other potential solutions for putting your baby to bed when you are travelling. If using a playpen, do not add mattresses or padding.

Essential information to rememberWhen you go for walks, your baby will be safest and most comfortable sleeping on her back in a stroller.

Photo: Mélanie Safi

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.

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.

Information to which you should pay special attentionBe careful; your infant is not safe in her baby carrier if you are sleeping or lying down while wearing the carrier.