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FDA, CSPS Issue Warning on Infant Sleep Positioners

Use of infant sleep positioners can result in death by suffocation

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Use of infant sleep positioners could result in death, state the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a warning released Sept. 29.

Over the last 13 years, the agencies have received 12 reports of infants between 1 and 4 months of age dying from suffocation in sleep positioners or after becoming trapped between a positioner and the side of a crib. The CSPS has also received dozens of reports of infants being placed safely, on their backs or sides, in sleep positioners, but later found in potentially hazardous positions.

Parents and child care providers are warned to stop using sleep positioners (the two main types of which are flat mats with side bolsters or wedge-shaped mats with side bolsters); to never place pillows, sleep positioners, or other potentially smothering materials such as comforters or quilts under a baby or in a baby's crib; and to always place infants on their backs for sleeping.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] shares the concern of the CPSC and the FDA on the safety of sleep positioners, and urges parents not to use these products," Judith S. Palfrey, M.D., the president of the AAP, said in a statement. "The AAP believes sleep positioners represent a risk to sleeping babies. The AAP also recommends that parents never use pillows, stuffed animals, heavy blankets or other soft or puffy items in babies' cribs. Soft bedding can end up over their face and block their breathing. Babies should have their own crib, with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet."

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