Infant Deaths Linked to Sleep Positioners

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have received 12 reports in the past 13 years of infants between the ages of one and four months who died when they were suffocated by or became trapped in a sleep positioner.

"The deaths and dangerous situations resulting from the use of infant sleep positioners are a serious concern to CPSC," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners, so that children can have a safer sleep."

The CPSC and the FDA are warning parents and child care providers to:

  • Stop using sleep positioners - using a positioner to hold an infant on his or her back or side for sleep is both dangerous and unnecessary.
  • Never put pillows, infant sleep positioners, comforters or quilts under a baby or in a crib while the child is using it.
  • Place infants on their backs at night and during nap time - the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing infants on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Sleep positioning products are dangerous because infants placed in them have a tendency to flip into a face-down position, leading to a higher suffocation risk. A sleep positioner is dangerous even if used correctly - infants who are placed properly on their backs onto the device may still be able to scoot up or down, increasing the likelihood that they could become trapped between the device and the side of the crib or bassinet and suffocate.

FDA pediatric expert Susan Cummins, M.D., M.P.H, says parents and caregivers can create a safe environment for babies if they leave the crib free of pillows, toys, blankets and other items. As she wisely states, "the safest crib is a bare crib."

To help keep your child safe, stop using a sleep positioning device immediately. If, tragically, your child has already suffered injury, report the incident to the CPSC and consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.