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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Babies and Children
- Keeping Kids Safe - Sleeping Safety
- Lower Your Baby's Risk of SIDS

Babies sleep in many different places throughout the day and night. Parents and caregivers need to be aware that some places are not safe for a baby to sleep in, and others need careful consideration.

Things to consider when putting a baby down to sleep in order to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or entrapment or suffocation:

  • Babies should sleep in the same room as their parents, this is called room sharing.

  • Babies should always sleep on their back until they are able to roll over by themselves. Don’t use anything to wedge a baby onto their side.

  • The entire home needs to be smoke free.

  • Room temperature should not be too warm and the baby should have light coverings.

  • Babies need a firm surface that they can’t roll off of or get trapped in. Unsafe surfaces at any time of the day or night include waterbeds, couches, pillows, duvets or comforters, sheepskin.

  • Breastfed babies wake more frequently to feed and are less susceptible to SIDS. Bottle fed babies may benefit from using a soother (pacifier) in the early months as this also appears to be protective against SIDS.


If you choose to bring the baby to bed with you, this is called bedsharing. To reduce the risks to the baby:

  • Ensure that others who are sharing the bed (i.e. partner) are aware of the infant's presence.

  • Ensure that the mattress is firm and flat.

  • Ensure that there are no spaces between the mattress and headboard, walls and other surfaces, which may entrap the infant and lead to suffocation.

  • Ensure that the infant does not get too warm. Never overdress, swaddle or wrap the infant tightly with sheets or blankets.

  • Ensure that the infant cannot fall out of bed.

  • Always place the infant on his or her back to sleep.

  • Don’t smoke or use substances, such as alcohol or drugs, which may impair arousal/your ability to respond to the infant.

  • Discontinue bedsharing when you are ill or taking medications that may affect your ability to respond to the infant.

  • Do not bedshare if you or your partner are obese.

  • Never place an infant to sleep (alone or with someone else) on waterbeds, couches, sofas, daybeds and armchairs.

  • Never use duvets and comforters in the infant's sleep environment.  Use sheets and light blankets.

  • Never put an infant to sleep on a pillow or adjacent to a pillow.

  • Never leave an infant alone on an adult bed.

  • Do not allow siblings or other children to co-sleep with an infant.

  • Do not allow pets to share the bed.


Preterm infants are at greater risk when bedsharing. Parents should delay bedsharing until infant reaches their estimated due date of delivery and is free from any medical conditions.

For more information about bedsharing and room sharing visit:




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