Today the F.D.A. said that infant sleep positioners pose a suffocation risk and should not be used. The researchers reported that 12 infants have died as a result of the positioners in the last 13 years.
Ironically, the positioners, most of which are flat or inclined cushions with side bumpers, are marketed as helping keep baby on his back, thereby lowering the risk of SIDS. But the government said it had not seen any research supporting this claim. Therefore, the positioners pose only a risk and shouldn’t be used anymore.
I run parenting groups for new moms and a lot of them use the positioners — some are told, even by their pediatricians, to position baby on his side for better sleeping or reflux. But side-sleeping for very little babies is a SIDS risk. Flat on their back only.
What led to the instances of suffocation in these 12 cases?
Most of the babies had rolled from a side position to their stomachs, and especially with the added padding of the positioners, this is dangerous. That’s not counting lots of other reports from parents saying they put their baby in a positioner on his side or back, only to find him in a precarious position in or even outside the positioner later.
Needless to say, I’ll be spreading the word to my new moms.