The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Alberta's child advocate wants foster parents to stop bed-sharing with infants

  • Print

EDMONTON - The death of an infant in care has led to Alberta's child advocate recommending that foster parents stop letting babies sleep with them.

Del Graff made the suggestion Tuesday in a report into the death of an unnamed six-week-old girl in 2013.

Her foster parents moved her from a crib into their bed in the middle of the night and she was found unresponsive the next morning.

An autopsy could not determine a cause of death and police ruled there was no crime.

Graff said the province provides a two-day training course for foster parents that includes a section on safe sleeping practices, along with the statement "do not share the bed."

The course was not mandatory but, starting this fall, a new version of it will be.

Graff said that's still not enough.

"Foster parents are taking on the responsibility of providing care to someone else’s child and the decision about bed-sharing should not be the foster parents,'" he wrote.

His report outlines different expert opinions on bed-sharing, including one from the Public Health Agency of Canada that identifies it as a risk factor for suffocation and undetermined death in infants, such as sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

"There are conflicting theories about what is best for babies," said Graff. "Some argue that 'attachment parenting,' which includes bed-sharing, is best, while public health agencies and medical professionals recommend that babies should sleep in a crib.

"But at the end of the day, when children are in the care of the Ministry of Human Services, everything that can be done to make them safe needs to be done."

Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar said in a statement that the death of the little girl is a tragedy.

He said his department's policy on bed-sharing will be clarified, but he did not give details.

"While we recognize co-sleeping can be an important cultural aspect, each child in care must have a separate bed or crib as a permanent sleeping arrangement," Bhullar said. "We do not recommend bed-sharing due to a number of associated risks including falls or suffocations."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman pledges to find efficiencies at City Hall

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......
  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think e-cigarettes should be banned by the school division?

View Results

Ads by Google