Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

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

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."

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100

Social Media