Infant sleep positioners cause death, health officials say

November 21, 2012

Bolsters used to keep sleeping babies on their backs pose a suffocation hazard, health officials warned Wednesday after a recent death raised the 'sleep positioners' toll to at least 13 US infants.

Health officials first warned parents not to use the devices in 2010 and cracked down on manufacturers who claimed they could prevent , which claims more than 2,000 infants a year in the United States.

But the 'sleep positioners'—which typically feature bolsters attached to each side of a thin mat and sometimes a wedge to elevate the baby's head—remain on the market.

Most of the babies—all four months of age or younger—suffocated after rolling from their side to their stomach. Some were found trapped between the bolster and the side of the crib.

In addition to the 13 reported deaths since 1997, the has received dozens of reports of babies found in "hazardous positions within or next to the product" after they were placed on their back or side in the positioners.

"We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners so children can be assured of a safe sleep," Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the Consumer , said in a statement.

Parents should also keep the crib free of pillows, comforters, quilts and toys, said Susan Cummins, a pediatric expert at the .

"The safest crib is a bare crib," she said. "Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep. An easy way to remember this is to follow the ABC's of safe sleep—Alone on the Back in a bare Crib."

Explore further: New study reinforces need for continued infant sleep campaigns to prevent SIDS

Related Stories

New study reinforces need for continued infant sleep campaigns to prevent SIDS

October 17, 2011
New research reinforces the need for continued public education programs that encourage parents to place their infants to sleep in the supine (back) position in a safe crib or bassinet, to prevent an estimated 4,600 annual ...

NIH expands safe infant sleep outreach effort

September 13, 2012
The U.S. national campaign to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome has entered a new phase and will now encompass all sleep-related, sudden unexpected infant deaths, officials of the National Institutes of Health ...

Keeping baby safe in his or her first year

September 5, 2011
The first year with a new baby is an exciting, joyful time that means big changes for the whole family. However, it’s also a time when new parents have to think about the safety of their baby, especially in the home ...

Safe sleep environments key to preventing many infant deaths

April 19, 2012
Since 1992, the government's Back-to-Sleep Campaign has encouraged parents to place infants on their backs to sleep. Still, more than 4,500 infants die unexpectedly during sleep each year in the United States. Now, a University ...

Recommended for you

Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold

September 18, 2018
A comprehensive survey of ingredients in yogurts highlights high sugar levels in many—particularly organic yogurts and those marketed towards children.

Research confronts 'yucky' attitudes about genetically engineered foods

September 18, 2018
Is a non-browning apple less "natural" than non-fat milk? In one case, people have injected something into apple DNA to prevent it from turning brown after it's cut. In the other, people used technology to remove something ...

Your teen is underestimating the health risks of vaping

September 17, 2018
Teens today are more reluctant to smoke cigarettes than their counterparts nearly three decades ago, according to a study released this summer. But parents should hold their collective sigh of relief. The study, carried out ...

Thinking beyond yourself can make you more open to healthy lifestyle choices

September 17, 2018
Public health messages often tell people things they don't want to hear: Smokers should stop smoking. Sedentary people need to get moving. Trade your pizza and hot dogs for a salad with lean protein.

Shifting focus from life extension to 'healthspan' extension

September 17, 2018
Clinicians, scientists and public health professionals should proudly "declare victory" in their efforts to extend the human lifespan to its very limits, according to University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist S. Jay ...

Survey finds 2M US teens are vaping marijuana

September 17, 2018
A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about the new popularity of vaping among teens.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.