Vancouver Island families in need of safe sleeping options for their newborn may be able to access it through a program from Island Health.
Started in 2015 in the Cowichan Valley, Port Alberni, Comox, Campbell River and Mount Waddington regions, the Baby Bed program promotes safe sleep and connections between caregivers and families, according to the health authority.
They say the free program provides a Health Canada-approved bassinet made from heavy cardboard. The bassinet includes a mattress and replacement sheet, a washcloth, hat and “onesie” sleepwear and a safer sleep resource package.
They add pregnant people in their third trimester or families with a new baby up to two months old are eligible to receive a free baby bed and are encouraged to get a bed before a birth occurs. Beds are available at public health units in Island Health.
When they pick up a bed, they will also be met with a nurse to review safer seep resources and discuss any questions or issues.
Island Health adds that the beds are a safe place for babies to sleep and that is vital, considering sleep-related factors are among the leading cause of preventable death in healthy infants. That can include laying on their side or stomach.
The program was expanded to the entire Island recently, which recorded 5,880 births in 2022. A link to contact your local public health unit for a bed can be found here.