The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just issued a warning that nursing pillows should not be used in a baby’s sleep environment. Nursing pillows are a popular item for new mothers. They help support the infant during feedings. However, in situations where these products are misused, they can be dangerous and even deadly. The CPSC included several items in their warning.
- Pillow-like infant products
- Nursing pillows
- Lounging pads
The reason for the warning is because there have been deaths that may have been associated with these types of products. The deaths occurred when children were left on or near the pillows and have subsequently fallen asleep or rolled over or off the identified items. No specific brands of pillows were identified in the CPSC statement.
The CPSC site lists these guidelines for parents and caregivers:
- Do not allow infants to sleep on nursing pillows or other pillow-like products.
- Do not use infant sleep products with inclined seatbacks of more than 10 degrees.
- Parents and caregivers should not use infant car seats, bouncers, and other infant inclined products for sleep, and should follow manufacturer instructions.
- Follow safe sleep advice. Bare is Best: Do not add blankets, pillows, padded bumpers, or other items to the baby’s sleep environment. Back to Sleep: Always place infants to sleep on their backs on a firm, flat surface.
- If you have had an incident with an infant and a pillow-like product, please help in CPSC’s investigation by reporting your incident at our website www.saferproducts.gov. The information you provide could save lives.
Safe sleeping environments have been the focus of several campaigns over the last few decades. The sobering statistics warrants this attention. Almost a thousand infants suffocate in their sleep each year. Fortunately, there are many steps parents can take to provide their babies with a safe sleep environment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics r(AAP) recommends that infants always be put on their backs for sleep. This practice should be followed until their first birthday. Once a baby is able to roll over back and forth on their own, it is not necessary to return them to their back. However, when a baby is put down for sleep, position them on their back. There should be no pillows, toys, blankets, or bumper pads in a baby’s sleep space. Infants should have their own sleep space that is a firm, flat mattress. Ideally, for the first year, but at least for the first six months, infants should sleep in the same room with their parents. Infants should never be put to sleep on a sofa or chair. Bed-sharing is not recommended.
Another class of items marketed to parents is sleep positioners and wedges. Both the CPSC and the AAP have warned against the use of these products because they have been associated with suffocation incidences.
If parents put their baby to sleep on their back in a crib with a firm, flat mattress, and nothing else in the crib and the crib is in the parent’s room, they will be providing the safest sleep environment.
Healthy Children – How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained