The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration jointly advise parents that infant sleep positioners are unsafe and should not be used.
The two main types of infant sleep positioners are flat mats with side bolsters or inclined/wedge-shaped mats with side bolsters. Both types are unsafe.
Over the past 13 years since they began appearing in stores, there have been 12 reports of infant deaths by suffocation due to sleep positioners. Most of the infants suffocated after rolling from a side to stomach position.
In addition to the reported deaths, there have been dozens of reports of infants who were placed on their backs or sides in sleep positioners, only to be found later in potentially hazardous positions within or next to the sleep positioners.
Although the sleep positioners are marketed to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
and keep infants on their backs during sleep
, those claims are unproven. In fact, the CPSC and the FDA are unaware of any studies demonstrating that infant positioners prevent SIDS or other life-threatening harm.
Sleep positioners may claim to aid in babies' food digestion, ease colic
or prevent flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly). But in light of the new safety data, any benefit from using the positioners is outweighed by the risk of suffocation.
The CPSC warns parents to:Stop using sleep positioners. Using a positioner to hold an infant on his or her back or side for sleep is dangerous and unnecessary.
Never put pillows, infant sleep positioners, comforters, or quilts under a baby or in a crib
Always place an infant on his or her back at night and during nap time. To reduce the risk of SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing infants to sleep on their backs and not their sides.
If you have had a problem with an infant sleep positioner, you are encouraged to file a report through the FDA's MedWatch program
For more information, please visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission