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Child safety specialist gives tips on ensuring a safe sleep for your children

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When it comes to babies and sleep, many new parents are worried of trying to get their kid to sleep through the nights, but more are worried about their kids sleeping unsafely.

Sabrianne Penner is a health promotions specialist with Child Safety Link, and she says there are plenty of ways to make sure your kid is sleeping safe.

As for what you can do for babies or infants, “The ABC’s refer to the most common practices of safe sleep, and they stand for Alone, Back, and Crib,” said Penner in an interview with CTV on Tuesday.

“Babies and infants should be sleeping alone in their cribs, not in bed with their parents or caregivers.”

“For back, babies should be sleeping on their back until they’re able to roll over by themselves, and then C for crib, babies again are safest in a crib, cradle, or bassinet which meets the current Canadian safety standards,” she adds.

Not all cribs are considered safe though, as Penner warns against drop-side cribs and any cribs made before 1986.

She also warns against letting your baby fall asleep in a car seat or play pen, as they aren’t built to the same safety standards as cribs are.

“They’re just not built the same. They’re not as durable,” she added.

Some parents might be wondering when the right moment would be to transition their child out of the crib, and Penner said there’s one key way to know.

“Once your child is trying to get out of the crib on their own, that’s when you want to transition them to a toddler bed that’s close to the floor, or a mattress which is on the floor,” she said.

Once you do transition you child out of the crib, Penner says it’s important to check the room they’re sleeping in for any hazards and to clear them. Things like furniture being propped up, cord blinds being tied up, and even having window guards and locks to ensure they don’t fall out of the window, instead of relying on a screen.

As for gates on the toddlers’ beds, Penner says if the bed comes with a gate to use it, but to beware of buying gates for beds from separate websites as there can be safety issues with them.

Older kids may want to dabble with new beds like bunk beds, and Penner says they can be fun for kids, but they hold their own risks.

“They also carry their own risks, we know around 300 kids a year in Canada are injured by bunk beds, Canada doesn’t currently have its own regulations for bunk beds and being built to safety regulations, so if you are looking to purchase a bunk bed, it’s recommended through Health Canada that you buy one that meets the regulations in the United States,” she says.

“Following those safety precautions of no kids under six on the top bunk, one kid on the top bunk at the time, making sure you’re using the ladder, and not tying things to the bed, or anything like that,” she adds.

Penner also recommends reaching out to any local family resource centres for help on making sure your furniture is safe.

“Just be mindful, injuries can happen so quickly, and you don’t think it’ll happen to you, but just be mindful,” she adds.

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