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Sleep Positioners Linked to Infant Suffocation: CDC
Date:11/21/2012

n," Bolek added. "For example, a baby with cerebral palsy who has difficulty swallowing may need a positioner to sleep. These babies are not likely to roll off the device because they do not move normally as a result of their disability."

Despite their dangers, the FDA isn't considering removing sleep positioners from the market, Bolek noted.

"[The] FDA believes we are taking the appropriate action at this time," she said. "Using an infant sleep positioner would be at the discretion of a health care professional for a specific medical condition."

According Bolek, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and FDA are warning parents and child care providers to:

  • Stop using infant positioning devices. Using a device to hold an infant in a particular position is dangerous and unnecessary.
  • Never put pillows, infant positioning devices, comforters or quilts under the baby or in the crib.
  • Always place an infant on his or her back at night and during naptime.

Dr. Jose Rosa-Olivares, medical director of the Pediatric Care Center at Miami Children's Hospital, warned against the use of infant sleep positioners.

"In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics said parents should avoid using these positioning devices," Rosa-Olivares said. "There is no medical evidence that these devices offer any benefit."

"Babies should always sleep on their back on a firm surface," he said. "Parents shouldn't add anything to the bedding area that can potentially cause suffocation. This includes pillows, stuffed animals, bolsters or comforters."

Parents may mistakenly fear that babies placed on their back are in danger of vomiting or spitting up, which could block their airway and cause them to suffocate, Rosa-Olivares said. "The reality is there are automatic mechanisms in the body to prevent that. That's not why babies die in their sleep. They die in their sleep because they suffocate -- not because of spitting up or vo
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