The Canadian Press
Health Canada is warning the public about the suffocation risk associated with baby nests: small, portable beds with soft, padded sides.
Also called baby pods, they often are advertised as multi-functional products that can be used as a sleep surface, a changing mat, or a tummy time mat.
Some baby nests also are promoted as being suitable for bed sharing, which involves placing the product in a caregiver’s bed.
Health Canada says a baby nest’s soft, padded sides pose a suffocation risk, although spokesperson Gary Holub said there have not been any incidents involving baby nests in Canada.
“We are aware of open investigations in another [international] jurisdiction regarding baby nest incidents,” Holub wrote in an e-mail to The Canadian Press.
“We do not have details of these investigations, but remain in contact with our international partners to learn as much as we can.”
Holub said babies never should be left unattended in baby nests, nor should the nests be placed inside another product, such as a crib, a cradle, a bassinet, or a playpen.
He also stressed babies never should be placed on soft and uneven surfaces, such as standard beds, water beds, air mattresses, couches, futons, or armchairs, all of which further increase the suffocation risk.
Additionally, Health Canada does not recommend bed-sharing or products that are intended to be placed in the adult bed–or attached to the adult bed–due to the risk of suffocation and entrapment.
Holub said Health Canada would like to remind families that the safest place for a baby to sleep is on their back, alone in a crib, a cradle, or a bassinet that meets current Canadian regulations.
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada also recommend room-sharing, using a crib, a cradle, or a bassinet next to a bed, as a safe alternative to bed-sharing.
Holub said research has shown it is beneficial for babies to share a room with one or more caregivers, as it may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.