Babies and children

Warning about baby cot positioners

Warning about baby cot positioners Too dangerous to use, US regulators say

Baby cot positioners that are supposed to help prevent cot death syndrome have been withdrawn from sale after US authorities warned infants have suffocated in them.

The product was withdrawn by retailers Mothercare and Tesco, following the statement by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Food and Drug Administration yesterday that the positioners are ‘too dangerous to use'.

Over the past 13 years, regulators received 12 reports of infants between the ages of 1 and 4 months who suffocated in sleep positioners or became trapped and suffocated between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet.

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 within or next to the sleep positioners.

“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 CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.

The two main types of infant sleep positioners are flat mats with side bolsters or inclined mats with side bolsters.

Despite the claims by manufacturers that positioners reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, the FDA has never cleared a product for that purpose. Indeed, the two bodies are not aware of any scientific studies that support the manufacturer claims.

“To date, there is no scientifically sound evidence that infant sleep positioners prevent SIDS,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner and a pediatrician.

“We want to make sure parents, health care professionals, and childcare providers understand the potential risk of suffocation and stop using infant sleep positioners.”

CPSC and the FDA are warning 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.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not support the use of any sleep positioner to prevent SIDS.

This article was published on Thu 30 September 2010

Image © Consumer Product Safety Commission

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