Island Health is rolling out the benefits of its Baby Bed program.

The health authority is encouraging parents on the Central and North island to contact their public health units, to learn more about the program.

It provides parents with a bassinet made of heavy cardboard that serves as a safe place for babies to sleep.

Island Health notes this 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, it expanded to include all families in central and north Vancouver Island, with 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 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.

Island Health says it’s safe to visit your public health unit during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it’s following all guidelines of physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and screening for symptoms.

Families in the central and north island can also register for a baby bed by clicking here