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  • In-Bed Sleepers May Pose Fatal Risks To Infant Safety

    Soft beddings or items have no place in your baby's safe sleep area.
    by Rachel Perez .
In-Bed Sleepers May Pose Fatal Risks To Infant Safety
PHOTO BY Pexels
  • Many parents will do anything or buy any product that claims to help put a baby to sleep faster and longer. When the baby sleeps soundly, mom and dad can get some shut-eye, too.

    While there are benefits to co-sleeping with baby, many experts don't recommend it. Sleeping with a baby on the same bed does not eliminate the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation, or accidents such as babies rolling off the bed and parents rolling over their babies while asleep.

    The arrival of in-bed sleepers in the market was heaven-sent for many exhausted sleep-deprived parents. However, following the recall of baby inclined sleepers and baby rockers, the safety of these sleep products are now brought to the spotlight after the release of an investigative report this week.

    Consumer Reports, a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to unbiased product testing, consumer-oriented research, and consumer advocacy, released its investigative report on baby sleep products last October 21, 2019. Based on the data provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), it found that in-bed sleepers were tied to at least 12 infant deaths between 2012 and 2018.

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    In-bed sleepers and the risk they pose to babies

    In-bed sleepers currently do not have their own federal safety standards, Consumer Reports revealed. They have no product design rules to ensure safety, and some products already bear potentially dangerous design elements such as padding and soft surfaces.

    There were three in-sleepers mentioned in the report: The Baby Delight Snuggle Nest, which has a flat mattress but includes a removable incline wedge that puts babies at an incline of about 12 degrees. Both the Baby Delight Snuggle Nest and The SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper is designed as a flat mattress with low, mesh walls. The third product, the DockATot, is a softer and more pillow-like bed with soft side bumpers. They are more appropriately categorized as baby nests or baby pods.

    Makers of SwaddleMe By Your Side and Baby Delight denied involvement in the deaths. The latter suggested that "inappropriate and dangerous sleep practices and misuse likely caused or significantly contributed to the deaths." DockATot declined to comment except to consult a pediatrician before purchase and follow precautions when using it.

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    Safety agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Lullaby Trust in the U.K., and Health Canada had warned parents not to put babies to sleep in products that have padding, soft surfaces, and bolster-like pillows on sides as these pose a suffocation risk. These can block airflow if a baby's face comes in contact with them.

    Put baby to sleep only on a flat, firm sleep surface with no soft bedding, bumpers, bears or blankets.

    On the same day Consumer Reports released its report, a new study was published in the journal Pediatrics. It found that a lot of parents still do not follow safe sleep guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

    The study showed that while most new parents put their babies to sleep on their backs, only 42 percent of parents follow the recommendation against soft beddings. More than half of the parents share a room with their baby but not a bed, and yet only 32 percent of parents put their babies to sleep on a firm and flat surfaces. Less than one-third of the parents use cribs, bassinets, or Pack N' Plays that meet the safety standards of the CPSC.

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    The AAP's safe sleep guidelines are in place to keep your baby safe, so be sure to follow them. These include:

    1. Put infants younger than 6 months old to asleep alone and on their back.
    2. Place baby’s crib in your bedroom, but avoid letting her sleep on your bed until they reach age 1. If co-sleeping is unavoidable, have your baby sleep in your room — not on your bed, but in his own crib — for at least 6 months. (Click here for co-sleeping safety tips.)
    3. Your baby’s safe sleep should be a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet.
    4. Your baby’s sleeping space should be clear of pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, stuffed toys, and other soft items. Your child may start using a pillow when he's age 2 or 3.

    For more information about safe sleep, click here.

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