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Stop Using Infant Sleep Positioners!

Baby Positioners Warning

Washington DC–US safety officials urged parents to stop using sleep positioners that claim to keep sleeping babies from rolling onto their stomachs, warning that they can be deadly.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Food and Drug Adminstration warned parents and child care providers to stop using the mats with bolster pillows, saying they have received a dozen reports of children between the ages of one and four months who died while sleeping on them.

Most of the children died after rolling from a side-sleeping position onto their stomachs and suffocating, but others became trapped between the sleep positioner and the side of their bed and suffocated.

The two main types of infant sleep positioners are flat mats with side bolsters or wedge mats with side bolsters. They are supposed to keep an infant from rolling onto his or her stomach while sleeping to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, which has been linked to stomach-sleeping.

The FDA said Wednesday that there is no evidence that the devices prevent SIDS and urged parents, health care professionals, and childcare providers to stop using them.

The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics categorically said the mats with bolsters do not prevent SIDS, and, on the contrary, “represent a risk to sleeping babies.

“Sleep positioners do not prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and in fact can increase the risk of babies suffocating. These deaths are tragic and avoidable,” AAP president Judith Palfrey said. “The American Academy of Pediatrics shares the concern of the CPSC and the FDA on the safety of sleep positioners, and urges parents not to use these products,” she said.

In addition to the deaths, the CPSC has received 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 in or next to them.

The deaths and incidents involving sleep positioners happened over a period of 13 years, the two safety watchdogs said.

The CPSC appealed to parents and caregivers “to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners, so that children can have a safer sleep.”

The FDA has ordered manufacturers of infant sleep positioners with medical claims that have not been reviewed by the FDA to stop marketing those products, and asked manufacturers whose sleep positioners have been cleared by the FDA to submit clinical data showing that their products’ benefits outweigh any risks.

Visit FDA and CPSC web sites for further information.

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