FDA, doctors warn of infant sleep positioner suffocation risks

WellSpan doctors say to put your baby to sleep on its back.

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – You may have seen infant sleep positioners, or maybe you have one yourself. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and American Academy of Pediatrics warn against using them saying they can lead to your baby’s death.

The FDA warns against the use of infant sleep positioners.

Doctors at WellSpan York Hospital say your baby should always sleep on its back. A baby can roll over on its side in the sleep positioners and suffocate.

“We just don’t recommend those, and that’s why the FDA came out with a re-recommendation to not use these devices,” said Dr. Michael Goodstein, a neonatologist at WellSpan York Hospital.

Sleep positioners are also known as “nests” or “anti-roll” products.

“There have been cases reported of babies sleeping out of the positioner, getting to the little bumper on the side, which is called the bolster, where they get their face or nose and mouth up in the bolster, and they can suffocate from that,” Goodstein said.

Goodstein, who’s also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on SIDS, says don’t put loose objects in your baby’s crib.

“We want to avoid things like pillows, loose blankets, hats, positioning devices, and bumper pads,” Goodstein said. “Those are all unnecessary devices that can create suffocation and hazards for the baby.”

Doctors say parents should know the ABCs of safe infant sleeping, in addition to not using infant sleep positioners.

“The take-home message from all this is to remember your ABCs. The baby should sleep alone, on its back in the crib, no exceptions,” Goodstein said.

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the leading cause of death for babies between one month and one year of age. 1,600 babies died of SIDS in the United States in 2015, and most SIDS deaths happen in infants between one and four months of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Goodstein says putting your baby to sleep on its stomach on soft bedding increases its risk of dying from SIDS by 21 times.

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