Baby bed program promotes safe sleep

Free baby beds available beginning Oct. 1 through Island Health

A baby sleeps in their new baby bed. Families in the Capital Regional District will be able to pick up their free baby beds, as part of the Baby Bed program through Island Health starting Oct.1. (Contributed photo)

A new program promoting safe sleep practices for babies is coming to Vancouver Island next month.

The Baby Bed program is a safe sleep initiative that provides a free bed with solid walls, a firm mattress and fitted sheet for newborns and care items to get a healthy start in life.

First introduced in Finland in 1938, baby beds helped drastically increase the country’s infant survival rate. While B.C. has one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in Canada, sleep-related factors are the leading cause of death in healthy infants.

“We all want a healthy infancy for our babies,” said Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer with Island Health. “Baby beds provide a safe sleep option as well as visible reminder of safe sleep practices during infancy, which includes putting your baby to sleep on their back on a firm, uncluttered surface.”

Women who are pregnant or families with a new baby up to three months old are eligible for a free bed, which can be used until they are up to four to five months old or when they begin to roll over.

Participants must register at rightfromthestart.viha.ca and watch an online baby care video to earn a certificate, which must be presented to their local health unit to receive a free bed.

Residents in the Capital Regional District are able to pick up their baby beds at the Victoria Public Health Unit beginning Oct. 1.

For more information, visit viha.ca/babybed.

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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