After hearing about the new warnings issued highlighting the dangers of infant sleep positioners, I'm even more relieved that I chose not to use one after having my son. Since 1997, 13 babies under the age of 4 months old have died after being placed in a sleep positioner -- and the cause of death for all of them was unintentional suffocation.
Of the 13 infants, nine of them were placed in a side-sleeping position using the foam device, and most of them wound up being found lying face down on their stomachs by caregivers who likely only had the best intentions by using the sleep positioners in the first place. (So sad.)
And that's what makes these deaths even more heartbreaking. Most parents use sleep positioners because they want to prevent their babies from rolling around in the middle of the night and possibly suffocating. I'm sure the last thought on their minds after deciding to use one is that they may be putting their baby in harm's way instead of helping him or her have a better night's sleep.
Even though I'd never heard of anyone having trouble while using one, I chose to forgo adding an infant sleep positioner to my baby registry right before I had my son, because something about them just didn't seem totally safe to me. Over and over again, I kept hearing about how dangerous it was to put anything into a crib with a sleeping baby because of the risk of suffocation.
In fact, I didn't even use crib bumpers because I was so worried about my son rolling into them and being accidentally smothered. I always found the idea of sleep positioners to be pretty scary, especially since babies have been sleeping just fine without them for years and years.
And I also thought about it this way -- I wouldn't want someone shoving me into a device that kept me in a certain position all night long, so why would I want to restrict my baby like that? (It really can't be too comfortable.)
Even though plenty of parents have used sleep positioners without any sort of incident, even the slightest risk of suffocation should be enough to convince them to stop using them once and for all. It just doesn't seem worth it to me.
Do you use a sleep positioner -- why or why not?
Image via ljheidel/Flickr