The Public Health Agency of Canada offers important guidelines for providing a safe sleeping environment for babies. The goal is to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or "SIDS", in infants.
SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant less than a year old. The risk of SIDS is highest between two and four months of age.
While the cause of SIDS remains unknown, studies have identified risk factors that should be avoided to ensure maximum sleep safety for infants. There are five important steps that parents and caregivers can follow:
- Provide a smoke-free environment before and after your baby is born.
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, at naptime and night time.
- Provide your baby with a safe sleep environment that has a firm surface and no pillows, comforters, quilts, or bumper pads.
- Place your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet next to your bed.
- Breastfeeding can protect your baby.
The rate of SIDS has dropped by more than 50% since the government launched a "Back to Sleep" campaign in 1999. This is in large part due to changes in a caregiver's behavior like placing infants on their backs to sleep and decreasing smoking during pregnancy.
Caregivers should eliminate risks leading to unintentional suffocation. Loose bedding, blankets, pillows or bumpers should not be near a baby's sleeping surface. It is also not recommended that babies share a bed with adults or other children.
September is Baby Safety Month. Play it forward. Save a Life.