There are steps you can take to create a safe sleep environment for your child, whether he or she is a baby, a toddler, or an older child. Child Safety Link would like to share the following information on safe sleep practices with parents and caregivers:
Sleep Safety for Babies
Safe crib, cradle & bassinet tips
- Cribs, cradles and bassinets sold in Canada must meet current safety regulations. This includes items sold at second-hand stores and online second-hand retailers.Cribs made after 1986 meet today’s standards for safety. It is best not to use a crib older than 10 years.
- Look for the label to show when the crib was made. If it does not have a label, it may not be safe.
- Before you buy a crib, cradle or bassinet, check the recalls and safety alerts database.
- Make sure your crib has no loose, missing or broken parts.
- Make sure the crib mattress fits tightly within the crib. If you can fit more than one finger between the mattress and each side of the crib, the mattress is too small.
Safe sleep practices
- The safest way for your baby to sleep is on her back in her own crib, cradle or bassinet that meets Canadian safety regulations (click here to view).
- Other than a firm mattress and a fitted sheet, there is no need for anything else in the crib, cradle or bassinet with your baby.
- Keep your baby’s crib away from windows, curtains or blind cords.
- Remove any bibs, teething jewelry or anything with ties from your baby before putting him/her the crib.
Where is the safest place for my baby to sleep?
The safest place for a baby to sleep is alone in a crib. You can also place your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet BESIDE your own bed. Known as room-sharing, this may be particularly appealing to mothers who breastfeed and want their baby to be near them without sharing the same bed surface.
Products made for children sleeping in the same bed as the parents are not recommended by Health Canada.
Sleep Safety for Toddlers
Safe bedroom tips for your toddler
- Move your toddler to a toddler bed or a mattress on the floor as soon as he or she tries to climb out of the crib. The bed should be low to the floor.
- Make sure there are no large gaps between the mattress and the bed frame.
- Keep all furniture away from windows and tie up blind cords.
- Use window guards or window locks in your toddler’s bedroom. A window screen will not be enough to keep your child from falling out.
- Attach heavy furniture such as dressers and bookshelves to the wall using safety straps or screws.
- Store products like lotions and creams up high and out of reach.
- Check your toddler’s room often for any small parts from toys or other items that could be choking or strangulation risks.
Sleep Safety for Older Children
In Canada, more than 300 children are injured due to bunk beds each year. Although there are no safety standards for bunk beds in Canada, Health Canada recommends purchasing bunk beds that meet the current ASTM (US) standards – Look for the ASTM F1427 label on the bunk bed.
Health Canada also suggests the following safe bunk bed practices:
- Children must be at least 6 years old before they can use the top bunk
- Only 1 child should be on the top bunk at a time.
- Use the bunk bed as intended – Children should always use the ladder when getting on or off the top bunk.
- Only play under a top bunk bed if the lower space is designed by the manufacturer as a play area.
- Never tie anything to the bed. Cords, sashes or ropes can strangle a child.
For more information on bunk beds, visit Health Canada – Consumer Product Safety website page on “Bunk Bed Safety” here.
- For more info on safe sleep for infants, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), please visit Health Canada’s “Safe Sleep for Your Baby” page here.
- Check for product recalls on children’s sleepwear. Visit Health Canada – Consumer Product Safety website here for information on products which have been recalled by the manufacturer due to safety concerns.
- For more information on children’s injury prevention topics, visit www.childsafetylink.ca or call 1-866-288-1388 (toll-free in the Maritimes)