Baby health

Ask Dr. Dina: Can I let my baby sleep in his swing?

Paediatrician Dr. Dina Kulik shares her safe sleeping tips

By Dr. Dina Kulik

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

My son often falls asleep in his baby swing. Is it safe to let him sleep there?

With each of my kids, I was tempted to let them sleep in their swing or car seat, or next to me in my bed. I’d spend hours trying to get them to nod off; and once they finally did, it seemed like a terrible idea to wake them up and move them to the bassinet. On this topic, however, the Canadian Paediatric Society is unequivocal: For the first six months, the safest place for your baby to sleep is on his or her back, in a crib in your room. Keeping the baby close by can make nighttime feeding a little easier, plus it can protect against sudden infant death syndrome.

Of course, it can be next to impossible to prevent some infants from falling asleep, whether in a moving car or a baby swing. So it’s important to ensure there are no sleep positioners or blankets that could cause your baby to suffocate. If your little one falls asleep in a swing or car seat, it’s OK to leave him there for a short while under a watchful eye—this is one time when you shouldn’t nap when the baby naps. Check he’s able to breathe well and not slumped over, which might compromise breathing.

Dina Kulik is a paediatrician and emergency room doctor in Toronto and mom to three boys, who are five, three and 17 months. Send her your kids’ health questions at