Health Officials Urge Parents to Stop Using Infant Sleep Positioners

The nation’s top health and safety officials are reminding parents and caregivers to stop putting infants in sleep positioners unless prescribed by a doctor. The warning comes after a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 13 infant deaths associated with sleep positioner products from 1997 to 2011.

Although infant sleep positioners are intended to keep a baby in a specific position while sleeping, some babies sleeping in these products have been found lying on their abdomen, according to the CDC report.

“We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners so that children can have a safer sleep,” said Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission in a news release.

All but one of the 13 infants who died over the 14-year period were less than three months old. Most of the babies who died using the sleep positioners had rolled from their side to their stomach, causing suffocation.

Additionally, there have been dozens of reports of babies who were originally placed on their back or on their side in a sleep positioner, but were found later in a different “hazardous” position, according to a news statement.

To create a safe sleep environment for babies, parents and caregivers should keep pillows, comforters, quilts, toys and other items out of the crib.

“The safest crib is a bare crib,” said Dr. Susan Cummins, a pediatric expert for the Food and Drug Administration. “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.”

Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Update; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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