Research tells us that you can lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and prevent other sleep-related injuries and deaths in babies up to 1 year old by doing these important things:
Always put your baby on their back to sleep for their first year, this lowers their risk of SIDS. Even when your baby can roll over on their own, research tells us to still put them on their back to sleep. If they roll over, you don’t have to move them back.
When your baby is awake and with you, place them on their tummy to play several times every day. Tummy time helps prevent flat areas on their head. It also helps with your baby’s development and makes their body stronger to be able to roll, sit, and crawl.
Remember —back to sleep, tummy to play.
A safe crib, cradle, or bassinet helps lower the risk of SIDS and prevents your baby from being trapped, suffocated, or strangled.
A safe crib, cradle, or bassinet has:
Health Canada - crib, cradle, or bassinet for more information on safety standards.
Babies are safest when the room temperature is comfortable for an adult wearing light clothing. A baby who is too warm is at a higher risk of SIDS. If the room is cool, choose a warmer sleeper, rather than over-dress or over-bundle your baby. Babies don’t need extra blankets. If using a blanket, make sure it:
Help your baby be healthy by being smoke–free. Babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant are at a higher risk of SIDS.
Make sure no one ever smokes around your baby. A baby exposed to second-hand smoke both before and after birth is at a higher risk of SIDS.
For help to cut back or quit smoking, go to
Research tells us that breastfeeding may lower the risk of SIDS, and other illnesses. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life.
Room-sharing means that your baby sleeps in the same room as you or another person, but on a separate sleep surface like a crib, cradle, or bassinet.
Room-sharing keeps your baby close, safe, and:
Bed-sharing means that a baby sleeps on the same surface like a bed or sofa with another person. This includes a parent, caregiver, child or even a pet. Bed-sharing increases a baby’s risk of SIDS.
Babies can also fall, be strangled, or suffocate if:
If you choose to bed-share:
If you choose to bed-share, make sure to follow all of the information provided. Remember that it still won’t make bed-sharing safe.
Playpens shouldn’t be used for unsupervised sleep — they don’t meet the same safety requirements as cribs, cradles, and bassinets.
Car seats keep babies safe during travel and shouldn’t be used for sleeping. It’s not safe for babies to sleep in a seated position. Plan ahead. When you get to where you’re going, take your baby out of the car seat and put them on their back to sleep on a safe sleep surface.
To learn more about safe sleep for your baby’s first year, go to
Current as of: March 19, 2020
Author: Healthy Children and Families, Alberta Health Services
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