Sleep Positioners Are Not Safe For Babies, Claim FDA And CSPC

The good news is: one less thing to buy for your new baby.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CSPC) have come out with a strong warning that sleep positions pose a suffocation risk for infants. In 13 years at least 12 babies have died as a result of postioner use in the crib.

The positioners are basically these little wedges used to hold a baby in a back-sleeping position. They were intended to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by keeping the baby on her or her back. But the FDA and CPSC say there’s no evidence that this is true and that it’s illegal for manufacturers to claim such a thing.

There is evidence showing that pillows and soft items should be removed from the sleeping area (crib, co-sleeper, bed) to prevent suffocation and that back sleeping is the safest position for infants.

The LA Times had this to say, “Two U.S. safety agencies and the nation’s leading pediatricians group warned parents that baby sleep positioners can trap and suffocate babies and urged families to stop using them, retailers to stop selling them and manufacturers to stop making them.”

SIDS is such a scary subject, it presses all of our tweaked new parental buttons. It’s also a slightly irritating topic because the definition of SIDS is far from clear– I’ve never understood why suffocation counted a part of the syndrome, but in many cases it does.

To calm your nerves I recommend reading up on safe sleeping. There are some good recommendations out there for both crib and co-sleeping. But up until now, MANY new parents have been advised to use sleep positioners and they are for sale in most baby gear stores. Swaddling or infant sleeping bags are good alternatives to the postioners.

Makers of these products claim they also help babies with reflux. Again, no proof of this whatsoever. There are other things to do to help ease reflux, including making sure that reflux is actually what is happening. Some experts think reflux is over-diagnosed or improperly diagnosed by parents. For more about reflux of GERD (gastro-esophigal reflux disease) and the varying opinions on treatments see Babble’s guide to Infant Acid Reflux.

photo: LA TIMES

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