Baby Beds originated in Finland 80 years ago. They provide infants a safe place to sleep. (Island Health image)

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants north of the Malahat

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Vancouver Island Health is reminding north Islanders they can register for a free baby bed through the local health office.

The Baby Bed program provides a sturdy box for babies to sleep in, which helps protect them from accidental suffocation. Sleep-related infant deaths have been decreasing in Canada for decades, in part due to awareness campaigns teaching parents how to safely put babies to sleep. Yet, it remains an important thing for infant caregivers to know about.

The Baby Bed is a heavy cardboard bassinet “that serves as a safe place for babies to sleep – which is vital, as sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of death in healthy infants and are preventable,” the health authority said. The box comes with a small mattress, sheets, and a onesie. Island Health also invites local businesses to donate items for the box, such as diapers, wipes, blankets, baby clothes or toys.

Babies should sleep on their backs and in a crib or bassinet that’s free of cushy blankets and pillows, at least until they start to roll over.

The Baby Box program connects families with a local health provider, and provides them with a box that will last for the baby’s first five to six months.

The program was expanded to central and north Vancouver Island last year with funding support from the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. About 180 boxes have been distributed since the program was re-launched in December.

To register for a Baby Bed, contact the local public health office.

Anyone living north of the Malahat who is in the third trimester of pregnancy or has baby up to two months old qualifies to receive the bed.

Public health units north of the Malahat are here:

Campbell River Health Unit

Comox Valley Health Unit

Duncan Health Unit / Margaret Moss Health Unit

Ladysmith Health Unit

Lake Cowichan Health Unit

Nanaimo – Princess Royal Family Centre Health Unit

Nanaimo Public Health Unit

Parksville Family Place

Port Alberni Child Youth & Family Health Unit

Port Alice Health Unit

Port Hardy Health Unit

Port McNeill Health Unit

Tofino and Ucluelet Public Health Unit

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


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