Health Canada warns about baby nest SIDS dangers

Baby nests can increase suffocation risks


An example of a baby nest manufactured in the European Union.

An example of a baby nest manufactured in the European Union.

If you currently put your baby to sleep in a cozy-looking baby nest or pod, you may want to reconsider that.

Health Canada has just issued a warning about suffocation risk associated with these baby beds.

A baby nest is a small, portable bed for an infant that has soft, padded sides. Many baby nests are promoted as sleep surfaces, changing mats and tummy time mats.

And some baby nests are also promoted as being suitable for bed sharing, which involves placing the product in your bed.

But a baby nest’s soft, padded sides pose a suffocation risk, Health Canada warned Aug. 25.

If you have a baby nest, you should never leave your baby there unattended, and you should avoid putting the nests inside a crib, cradle, bassinet or playpen, Health Canada said.

As well, baby nests should never be placed on beds, couches, or armchairs, because placing a baby nest on these soft and uneven surfaces can further increase the suffocation risk, Health Canada said.

When thinking about where a baby should sleep, Health Canada says to remember that:

• a baby’s sleep surface should be firm and flat;

• products with soft surfaces or padding should be avoided;

• products with attached cords, strings or ribbons pose a strangulation risk; and,

• large openings or gaps in a baby’s crib or other sleep environment are unsafe.

Health Canada said it does not recommend bed-sharing or using products placed in the adult bed, or attached to a bed, because of the risk of suffocation and entrapment.

But Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada do recommend room-sharing, using a crib, cradle or bassinet next to your bed because research has shown that it’s good for babies to share a room, as it may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Although overcrowded housing in Nunavut means many babies share a room with other people, the territory’s SIDS rate remains three times higher than the Canadian average.

In 2014, Nunavut’s Office of the Chief Coroner and the Government of Nunavut encouraged parents and caregivers to ensure that babies have a safe place to sleep and that sleep on their back in a protected area free of clutter.

Then, in 2016, the GN introduced its “baby boxes” to offer babies a safe place to sleep.

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