This initiative provides parents with a bassinet made of heavy cardboard 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 beds can be used until babies are up to four or five months old, or when they begin to roll.
The baby bed concept was first introduced more than 80 years ago in Finland, which now has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. In 2019, the Baby Bed program expanded to include all families in central and north Vancouver Island, thanks to the support of Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.
Families north of the Malahat can access a baby bed by calling their local public health unit. They will be connected with a Public Health Nurse to talk about any questions or issues they may have, receive pre- and post-birth support, and learn about safe sleep practices for babies. Families will then be able to pick up their bed at their health unit.
It is safe to visit your public health unit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health units are following all provincial recommendations for physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and screening for symptoms.
Families in the central and north island can also register for a baby bed by visiting www.islandhealth.ca/babybed.
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