New baby bed program on Vancouver Island promotes safe sleep

September 19, 2017

Vancouver Island – Island Health, in cooperation with The Baby Box Co. and community partners, is introducing the Baby Bed program across Vancouver Island this fall. The Baby Bed program is a safe sleep initiative that provides a bed for baby and care items to promote a healthy start in life.

“We all want a healthy infancy for our babies,” said Dr. Charmaine Enns, Island Health Medical Health Officer.  “Baby beds provide a safe sleep space option as well as visible reminder of safe sleep practices during infancy, which includes putting your baby to sleep on their back on a firm, uncluttered surface.”

British Columbia has one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in Canada (3.7 per 1000 live births). However, sleep-related factors are the leading cause of death in healthy infants. Evidence shows that the safest place for an infant to sleep is on a separate firm sleeping surface close to their caregiver.

The Baby Bed program offers families a free bed with solid walls, a firm mattress and fitted sheet, allowing infants to sleep safely. The beds can be used until babies are up to four or five months old or when they begin to roll. Participating families are also connected to public health nurses and programs that support baby, mom and family.

“By supporting the Baby Bed program, we are making a difference in the lives of newborns on Vancouver Island,” said Jennifer Clary, co-founder of The Baby Box Co., which will provide beds and ongoing support for the program.

Creating a safe sleep environment is important to reduce injury and keep babies healthy. First introduced in Finland in 1938, baby beds are part of a program that drastically improved Finland’s infant survival rate, which is now one of the best in the world.

How to get a Baby Bed

    • Women who are pregnant or families with a new baby up to three months old are eligible for a free bed.
    • All participants must register at rightfromthestart.viha.ca
    • Registrants will watch the online baby care videos at babyboxuniversity.com to earn a certificate.
    • Registrants must present the certificate at their local health unit to receive a free bed.

Beds will be available from health units for families presenting a certificate after October 1, 2017.

For more information see our website: www.viha.ca/babybed 


Island Health, one of seven health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.

With more than 20,000 staff, 1,900 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.

The Baby Box Co. is an innovative, integrated program to support parents and improve maternal and infant healthcare outcomes globally. The Baby Box Co. partners with hospitals, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide Baby Boxes, quality products, resources and ongoing education to families on a large scale. The Baby Boxes, which are made from a durable cardboard and are proactively certified to meet the highest level of available safety standards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as Health Canada and EN Standard regulations for bassinets, can be used as a baby’s bed for the first months of life. While parents appreciate the Baby Boxes and quality care products included, it is the educational component and closer communication with local healthcare providers that is at the center of the Baby Box University distribution model. Families are required to view their community’s online curriculum before receiving a free Baby Box. The Baby Box Co. has offices in the USA, UK, and Canada. For more information, please visit www.babyboxco.com and www.babyboxuniversity.com.

Central/North Island media inquiries
Adrienne Breen
Media Relations

South Island media inquiries:
Meribeth Burton
Media Relations