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 are often advertised as multi-functional products that can be used as a sleep surface, a changing mat or a tummy time mat. Some baby nests are also 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. However, spokesperson Gary Holub says 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,” he wrote in an email 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.”
“Health Canada will continue to monitor the situation and will take action to protect the health and safety of Canadians, as needed.”Gary Holub, Health Canada spokesperson
Holub says babies should never 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 says babies should never 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 says 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 says research has shown that 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.
In Canada, products that are intended to provide sleeping accommodation for a baby, including baby nests, are regulated by the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations issued under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. “Health Canada will continue to monitor the situation and will take action to protect the health and safety of Canadians, as needed,” Holub says.