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Government Warns Against Infant Sleep Positioners

This article is more than 9 years old.

Infant sleep positioners — specially shaped cushions meant to keep babies sleeping on their backs — are supposed to help save babies from SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FDA warned today that they've received a dozen reports of infant suffocation deaths linked to the infant sleep positioners, about one a year.

The AP story is here and the official warning is here. There have been similar warnings about crib "bumpers," thin cushions placed around the inside of a crib's slats: they can look cute but have also been reported to pose a suffocation risk.

Pediatricians strongly recommend that babies be placed to sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS, and the positioners — which are widely sold, from Amazon.com to Target — are marketed as helpful in keeping babies face up. But the New York Times reports:

“To date, there is no scientifically sound evidence that infant sleep positioners prevent SIDS,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the F.D.A.’s principal deputy commissioner.

This program aired on September 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.

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