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, 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.
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 has more information on safety standards for cribs, cradles, and bassinets.
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-dressing or over-bundling your baby. Babies don’t need extra blankets.
If you use a blanket, make sure it:
Help your baby be healthy by not smoking or vaping. Use or exposure to smoking or vaping during and after pregnancy increases the risk of SIDS.
Make sure no one ever smokes or vapes around your baby. A baby exposed to second-hand smoke or vape both before and after birth is at a higher risk of SIDS.
For help to cut back or quit smoking or vaping, go to
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 their own crib, cradle, or bassinet.
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 they are:
If you choose to bed-share:
If you choose to bed-share, taking all of these steps may reduce some of the risk, but it does not 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: June 21, 2023
Author: Healthy Children and Families, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.