Parenting Help

New Infant Safe Sleep Guide from Health Canada

To obtain helpful information on safe sleeping from Health Canada, click on the link below:
Visit the Health Canada website (Note: this link will open in a new window)


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Booklet

The booklet below is an introduction to basic strategies for managing the challenges associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It is intended for parents and care providers (whether biological, foster, kinship or adoptive), as well as service providers and educators. This booklet is a project of the Toronto FASD Coordinating Network.

Click here to view FASD Booklet

Home Alone & Positive Discipline

When can children stay at home safely? 

Click here to read more about Home Alone

Positive Discipline

What's Safe? What's Acceptable? What's Not? What Works? 

Click here to read more about Positive Discipline 

Healthy Kids, Healthy Teeth...Introducing CAS of Toronto's Dental Clinic

Proper dental care is very important to our overall health. The mouth often provides a snapshot of what is happening in the rest of the body. Everyone, but particularly children and youth, should see a dentist regularly.However, being able to affordably see a dentist often prevents this from happening. Frequently, children and youth who must come into our care have not been able to regularly visit a dentist. This can lead to serious oral hygiene and health problems. In fact, a recent study by the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto and our Agency’s Dr. Deborah Goodman revealed that abused and neglected children have higher levels of tooth decay than the general population of 5 year olds in Toronto. The study also found that our dental services had a protective effect on children’s oral health.

Our dental clinic is there to provide dental care to any child and youth in our care, although children do visit dentists in the community as well. Last year, over 1100 children and youth were seen by our six part-time dentists and our orthodontist. All of our dental staff are paid at a fixed salary which means they are earning substantially less than they would at an outside clinic.

The clinic is housed in a cheery, family-like environment which helps to ease children’s typical fears about visiting the dentist. Every young person who visits is given special treatment with dentists taking the time to explain exactly what they are doing in each procedure and about the importance of looking after your teeth and gums. Many young people who come to our clinic are happy that they can have their teeth looked after. One young visitor was especially happy that she would be able to have braces as she had been feeling very self-conscious and unhappy about her teeth.

To help your child with their oral hygiene, here are some tips from our dentists:

  • Children should have their teeth or gums brushed after breastfeeding as breast milk contains sugar.
  • Although it might be soothing, children should not go to bed with a bottle as it can lead to tooth decay.
  • Children should visit a dentist for the first time as soon as they have teeth.
  • You should help your child brush their teeth up to the age of 7 depending on the child’s dexterity.
  • Children and youth should be encouraged to brush for 2 minutes, twice a day.
Window Safety

With warmer weather comes open windows and that combination can be deadly for small children. The following tips from Safe Kids Canada will help keep your kids safe.

Safety tips:

  • Install window guards or window stops in every window.
  • Remember that screens alone cannot hold even a small child’s weight. Window stops prevent windows from opening more than 10 centimetres and are available at hardware stores.
  • Keep furniture and anything else a child can climb on well away from windows.
  • Young child need to be supervised when they are on a balcony.
  • Keep the balcony doors locked and make sure anything a child can climb on is kept away from the railing.
Summer Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Now that summertime is here there are a few things that parents and caregivers can do to keep children safe while they have fun this summer. Read safety tips for riding, swimming, walking and playing safe.

Ride Safe:

  • Make sure kids wear a helmet; and keep them off the road until they’re 10
  • Choose to ride on streets where the speed limit is lower and where traffic is less busy

Swim Safe:

  • Supervise children of all ages near any body of water and stay within arm’s reach of children under five
  • Have your child take swimming lessons. Children are ready to take swimming lessons at about age 4

Walk Safe:

  • Make sure children under the age of nine cross the street with an adult or older child
  • Cross streets only at intersections; don’t cross in the middle of the street

Play Safe:

  • Keep kids under five on playground equipment less than five feet (1.5 meters) high
  • Watch your child all the time; stand close enough to catch them when they climb


For more tips on how you and your family can have a safe and healthy spring and summer, visit Safe Kids Canada (this link opens in a new window). 

Rock-a-bye Baby...Safe Sleeping Tips for Infants

On average, 3 infants a week die of SIDS in Canada. It primarily affects newborns and there is no known medical reason for the cause of death. To help your baby sleep safely you need to consider where they sleep, how they sleep, the bedding they use and what's in the cot.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as "The sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after thorough case investigation, including the performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of clinical history." It is a tragic occurrence that leaves more questions than answers.

Research has failed to come up with any satisfactory answers. However, research has aided in finding ways to reduce the risk factors associated with SIDS. The number one way to reduce that risk is by placing sleeping infants on their backs. Both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Association advocate for infants sleeping on their backs. 

Significant risk factors for SIDS include smoking, both around the infant, and also by the mother during pregnancy. Too many covers or clothes can result in the infant over-heating, while soft pillows, mattresses, heavy blankets or toys in the crib are another risk factor. Ideally, the infant should be placed on a firm mattress with light covers and no pillows. SIDS does not appear to be hereditary, as such it is highly improbable that more than one incidence of SIDS would occur between siblings in a family.

If the infant moves to another sleeping position on their own accord, even on their tummy, it is not necessary to force the infant onto their back.

With regards to co-sleeping, the Society supports the Canadian Paediatric recommendation that babies sleep in a properly manufactured crib with a proper mattress and nothing in the crib. Although the Society acknowledges different cultural practices, the safety of children is our most important concern. To this end, we will help families working with us to obtain proper cribs for their children.

Car Seats 
SIDS has also occurred while infants were sleeping in car seats, strollers and jumpers. Always be extremely cautious if your child has fallen asleep in any of these places. If the child is at home then the child should be placed in their crib. Pressure across airways from car seat straps or clothing can also increase the likelihood of infant asphyxia.

Flat Heads 
Otherwise known as positional plagiocephaly, it occurs when a baby remains lying on their back. An infant's skull is quite soft but the 'flat head' is often only temporary, and there are techniques to avoid it. This includes supervised 'tummy time' when the infant is awake, as well as rotating the infant's position in the crib. Alternating your infant’s head position by placing the infant at the head and then foot of the crib will also encourage the infant to turn their head on their own.

Here are some tips to help prepare your baby to sleep safely. If you have questions about SIDS or safe sleeping practices you should talk to your doctor.


  • Place infants in a sleeping position on their backs
  • Do not use soft mattresses, pillows, or comforters. Keep sleep area free of toys and stuffed animals.
  • Do not over heat by placing infant in heavy clothing or too many blankets.
  • Do not smoke around the infant

Other ways to reduce risk

  • Have infant sleep in a crib in the same room as caregiver.
  • Pacifiers may have some protective effect against SIDS, but should never be forced on an infant.
  • Be cautious of an infant sleeping in a car seat, jumper or baby carriage.