Safe Sleep for Infants

Cribs for Kids - Safe Sleep Leader

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) launched its Safe Infant Sleep Program in 2019, and became only the second hospital in Canada to be named a Silver Certified Safe Sleep Leader by the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program. This certification recognizes LHSC for its commitment to keeping infants safe in their sleep environment by reducing as many sleep-related infant injuries and deaths as possible.

Our Safe Infant Sleep Program involves:

  • A comprehensive, department-wide safe sleep policy
  • Introducing wearable blankets or “sleep sacks”
  • Educational training for our healthcare team on safe sleeping guidelines, educational resources for families and caregiver(s)
  • Role-modeling safe sleep behaviours in the hospital and in the community.

Since the program’s inception:

  • Babies in the safe sleep position increased from 76.2 percent to 92.4 percent 
  • Number of loose items decreased from 79.2 percent to 40.2 percent
  • Number of stuffed toys in the crib reduced by 19.9 percent
  • Number of extra blankets decreased from 69.3 percent to 18.2 percent
  • Number of diapers in the crib reduced by 24.1 percent 

Safe sleep statistics graphic

At LHSC, we are dedicated to providing the best patient care, and in doing so, are here to help you and your baby sleep safely. 

The following are best practices to promote safe sleep:

ABC’s: Alone, on their back, in their crib for all sleep times (naps and at night).

  • Ensure the infants' sleep surface is firm.

Room-Sharing: Having a baby’s sleep area in the same room, on a separate surface is recommended for the first six months. 

  • Co-sleeping (sharing a sleep surface) greatly increases risk of injury.

Feeding Baby: Breastfeeding protects against sleep-related infant deaths. 

  • If you feed your baby at night, be sure to put baby back in their own crib or bassinet. 

Smoke-Free Environment: Reduces the risk of sleep-related infant death by 50 percent. 

  • Caregivers who smoke should do it away from their infant(s).
  • Be sure to change your clothing before handling your infant(s).

Tummy Time: Your infant(s) should be supervised and awake during tummy time. 

  • Tummy time helps your infant(s) develop strong neck muscles and prevents plagiocephaly (flat head)
  • Should be done two to three times a day when baby is awake.
  • Start with one minute than gradually increase the time.

No Loose Objects: Do not place soft objects of items that increase the risk of injury in an infant’s crib (i.e., no stuffed animals, toys, pillows or bumper pads)

Avoid Overheating: No bulky or heavy blankets, only a fitted sheet and one to two light layers of appropriately-sized clothing. 

Signs of overheating are: 

  • Sweating
  • Damp hair
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Heat rash
  • Rapid breathing
Components of safe sleep

For more information on how to keep your infant safe at home, please review Health Canada’s Safe Sleep recommendations.