Safe Sleep

Provide a smoke-free environment, before and after your baby is born.

  • Smoking during pregnancy exposes unborn babies to tobacco smoke which is one of the greatest risks for SIDS. Up to 1/3 of all SIDS deaths could be prevented if pregnant women did not smoke. No smoking at all is best for your baby, but lowering the amount of cigarettes you smoke can also lower the risk of SIDS.
  • Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of SIDS after your baby is born. Avoid smoking near your baby – in the house, in the car or anywhere your baby sleeps or spends time. If you, your partner, family member or friends smoke, smoke outside and far away from your baby.

Breastfeeding can protect your baby.

  • Any amount of breastfeeding for any duration can help protect your baby from SIDS but exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months (when the risk of SIDS is highest) can lower the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
  • Reminder: If you bring your baby into bed to breastfeed, the risk of SIDS and suffocation do not increase so long as you place your baby back to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet after the feeding.

Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, at naptime and night time.

  • Babies who always sleep on their backs have a lower risk of SIDS. Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep works; since the launch of the 1999 Back to Sleep campaign in Canada, the number of parents and caregivers who placed their babies on their backs to sleep increased dramatically, and the rate of SIDS has dropped by more than half.
  • Supervised tummy time during play time
  • Newborn babies get in the habit of sleeping the way they are first placed, so start placing your baby on his or her back to sleep right after he or she is born. Sleep positioners, such as rolled up blankets or wedges that are meant to keep babies on their backs to sleep are not needed and can increase the risk of suffocation.
  • Supervised tummy time during play time is important to develop healthy muscles and helps to prevent your baby from developing plagiocephaly, also known as flat head.

The safest place for your baby to sleep or nap is in a crib, cradle or bassinet that meets current Canadian safety regulations – check Health Canada’s current regulations.

  • Provide a safe crib environment that has no toys or loose bedding (use only a fitted sheet) t
  • Soft bedding, such as pillows, comforters, quilts and bumper pads, can increase the risk of suffocation
  • Soft surfaces, such as adult beds, sofas and armchairs, can increase the risk of suffocation
  • Check for a label that shows the date it was made. If it does not have a label, it may not be safe
  • Check regularly to make sure that the hardware is tight and not damaged

Place your baby to sleep in a crib next to the adult’s bed for first 6 months.

  • Room sharing for the first 6 months (when the risk of SIDS is highest) helps your baby sleep safely and lowers the risk of SIDS. Room sharing means placing your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet next to your bed, in your room.
  • Bed sharing or co-sleeping is when a baby shares the same sleep surface, such as an adult bed, sofa or armchair, with an adult or another child.
  • The risk of SIDS and suffocation is even higher if a baby shares the same sleep surface with a parent or caregiver who smokes, is very tired, or has taken drugs, alcohol or medications that can make them sleepy

Other resources: