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Baby Sleep Positioners Can Be Dangerous and Even Deadly

One of the biggest concerns for new parents, especially first-time ones, is keeping their little ones safe while they’re sleeping. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, can occur if a baby isn’t positioned properly in the crib or suffocates in bedding or stuffed toys in the crib. That’s why the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises that “Bare is Best.” The CPSC warns against placing thick quilts and pillows in any sleep environment, including bassinets, cribs and play yards.

Some parents, in an effort to keep their child safe, purchase sleep positioners. These are designed to keep babies positioned in a way that won’t cause suffocation. Some are flat, while others are slightly inclined and have side bolsters.

However, the CPSC has warned against the use of these positioners. The agency says that not only have these dangerous devices not been shown to prevent SIDS, but they can actually cause it. A baby could potentially roll over and become suffocated in the bolster. They could also become trapped between the positioner and the side of the crib or other sleep environment. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend their use.

Back in 2012, the CPSC reported that at least 13 children had died as the result of being in a sleep positioner since 1997. Most died after rolling over onto their stomachs. The CPSC said that it had also received reports of instances where babies who were originally positioned on their sides or backs were “found later in hazardous positions within or next to the product.” However, these and similar devices are still being sold by a number of retailers.

It’s only natural that parents will be drawn to any product that is marketed as a way to keep their baby safe. However, a pediatrician with the Food and Drug Administration reminds parents of what she calls the “ABC’s of safe sleep – Alone on the Back in a bare Crib.”

While tragically, some cases of SIDs and injuries to babies while they are sleeping may not be preventable, too many are. Parents who believe that a baby’s injury or death was caused by an unsafe product should determine what their legal options are for holding manufacturers, retailers and others accountable. Doing so may save the lives of other children.

Source: New York Times, “Officials Warn Against Baby Sleep Positioners,” Anahad O’Connor, accessed Oct. 01, 2015

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