The unknowns of SIDS are terrifying enough to parents that we want to do everything in our power to try to keep our little ones from harm. I remember that a sleep positioner was one of the first things I registered for when I was preparing for the arrival of my daughter.
CPSC issued a warning today about the infant sleep positioners that many parents use to try to keep baby sleeping on his or her back, though. While some of these infant sleep positioners claim on the package that they help reduce the risk of SIDS, CPSC says there's a more significant risk of suffocation from these products.
CPSC says they're aware of 12 incidents where "infants between the ages of 1 month and 4 four months died when they suffocated in sleep positioners or became trapped and suffocated between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet." In addition to the deaths, CPSC has received dozens of reports of babies being found in risky positions within or next to the sleep positioners.
This warning mostly pertains to sleep mats with side bolsters. The mats may be flat, or may have a wedge-shaped base. Some of the incline mats may state on the packaging that they can help babies suffering from reflux, or that they reduce the possibility of flat head syndrome. However, FDA's recent warning suggests that any possible benefit for reflux or plagiocephaly is outweighed by the risk of suffocation when using a sleep positioner.
Safe sleep for most babies doesn't require any special products. You should keep all fluffy materials and sleep positioners out of the crib, use a firm crib mattress, and always put baby to sleep on his or her back.