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Archive for the ‘Infant Products’ Category

Sleep positioners were originally designed after the Safe Sleep community began urging parents to place infants on their backs in order to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  Sleep positioners come in a variety of different designs but their design purpose is to keep an infant on his or her back.

Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of this product was to introduce yet another soft device into an infant’s sleep environment increasing the risk of suffocation.

Safe Sleep experts have long held that sleep positioners only increase the possibility of an infant dying due to either SIDS or accidental suffocation caused by the soft product.

To reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on their backs, positioned on a firm, empty surface. This surface should not contain soft objects, toys, pillows, or loose bedding.

Once an infant can freely roll, he should be allowed to adopt whatever sleep position he prefers.

 

Summer is here and with it comes a steady stream of stories about babies and children being left in cars with tragic consequences.  But another overheating danger is rarely discussed:.  Babies overheating in strollers. It is a common sight to see a parent pushing a stroller, with a thin blanket or towel draped over to protect the child from the sun.  Covered Stroller

Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet decided to run an experiment  to find out just how it could get inside the stroller. They left a stroller out in the sun (without baby, naturally) between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on a hot day, initially without a covering blanket. The temperature inside the stroller reached 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit). A thin blanket was then placed over the stroller for the following 30 minutes, after which the temperature soared to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit). After an hour, the temperature was up to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

This experiment was done without the added heat of baby’s own body temperature increasing the temperature.  Instead of protecting the baby from the sun, the parent is inadvertently increasing the danger to the baby. Depending on the design of the stroller, the air circulation may not be the best.  Add the increase in temperature and baby can become overheated.   Overheating also increases the risk for SIDS.

 

 

Do's and Don'ts of Sling Safety

Do’s and Don’ts of Sling Safety

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned parents and caregivers about using a sling for infants younger than 4 months of age, preemies and twins. 

 

Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate. 

 CPSC recommends that parents and caregivers make sure the infant’s face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling’s wearer. If nursing the baby in a sling, change the baby’s position after feeding so the baby’s head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother’s body. Parents and caregivers should be vigilant about frequently checking their baby in a sling.

Cultures throughout the world carry babies in slings but correct positioning is crucial.  Follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Always be able to see your baby’s face.
  2. Nose and Mouth should be clear.
  3. Baby’s chin should be up.

When baby is in a sling, baby shares your body heat and has the additional covering of the sling.  Make certain that baby is not too warm.  His or her head should be uncovered.

Enjoy having your baby close!

Safe Sleep14Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) focused their efforts on creating a safe sleep environment for infants.  This year, they continue that effort by focusing on portable play yards.  As of February 28, 2013 all play yards manufactured for sale in the United States must meet mandatory federal safety standard for the first time.

Portable play yards are used by parents, home childcare providers and hotels to provide a safe place for babies to sleep when no full-size crib is available.  Therefore, it is important that portable cribs manufacturing rules be brought into safety compliance also.  The new guidelines will require:

  • Side rails that do not form a sharp V when the product is folded. This prevents a child from strangling in the side rail.
  • Stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and to prevent a side-rail collapse.
  • Sturdier mattress attachments to the play yard floor to prevent children from getting trapped or hurt.

To ensure that  your baby is in the safest environment possible while left unattended, check that the date of manufacture on your play yard is February  28, 2013 or later.

Thanks to KIDS in Danger and the CPSC for all their hard work in making this new rule.

Newborn babies have been swaddled from birth since ancient times but in the last several years swaddling has become somewhat controversial.  

Let’s look at the positive reasons for swaddling.

  1. Many babies take comfort in being swaddled. Swaddling is an effective technique to help calm infants.
  2. Swaddling helps baby to successfully back sleep by decreasing startling.
  3. It has been suggested (though no research proves it) that  swaddling will delay the back sleeping baby from rolling to tummy.
  4. Swaddling increases baby’s time sleeping.

The negative of swaddling are:

  1. Swaddling incorrectly can cause hip dislocation;
  2. Too tight swaddling can inhibit baby’s ability to expand his lungs;
  3. Risk for SIDS increases significantly for infants swaddled and placed on their tummies. Swaddled infants that are placed on their backs but roll to their tummies are also at greater risk for SIDS.
  4. Swaddling can increase baby’s body temperature causing overheating especially if baby’s head is also covered. Overheating can be avoided by adjusting the clothing underneath as well as avoiding covering baby’s head.
  5. Swaddling decreases baby’s spontaneous waking. While this sounds like a positive, it’s a serious concern with regards to SIDS.

Many cultures and hospital newborn nurseries have traditionally used swaddling as a strategy to soothe infants.  Some experts suggest that if swaddling helps babies get to sleep, parents and childcare providers won’t be so frustrated that they put baby on his or her tummy to sleep.   

Swaddle Arms In or Out

A Halo® Sleep Sack with swaddler is recommended since using a blanket to swaddle baby can result in a loose blanket in the crib.  Halo® Sleep Sacks are sleeveless wearable blankets with an attached “cape” that swaddles baby between shoulders and hips.  This negates the concern for hip dislocation by leaving babies legs free to kick.

Pediatricians generally agree that some babies can benefit from swaddling during the first 6 weeks of life.  For swaddling an infant longer than 6 weeks, talk with your pediatrician.  In Illinois, childcare providers are forbidden to swaddle infants without a doctor’s order.

Ultimately, it’s up to the parents to determine if swaddling is an effective sleep strategy for their baby.  If swaddling, do it consistently and be sure to place baby on his or her back, in a safe crib with no bumpers, pillows or quilts in the crib.

What do you think?  Do you plan to swaddle your baby?

 

iStock_000014457023XSmall

Do you  have a crib in your baby’s room or basement?  If it was manufactured prior to 2011, it probably isn’t safe. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has mandated new standards for full-size and non-full-size baby cribs. The crib standards had not been updated in nearly 30 years.  Further, since 2007, the CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs. 

Once they become effective, the mandatory crib standards will: (1) stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; (2) make mattress supports stronger; (3) make crib hardware more durable; and (4) make safety testing more rigorous.

Effective June 2011, cribs manufactured, sold, or leased in the United States must comply with the new federal standards. Effective December, 2012, child care facilities, such as family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, and places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, must have compliant cribs in their facilities.

How do you know if the crib you have meets the latest safety standards?

  1. Marking on the crib shows the date of manufacture is after June 28, 2011.
  2. The crib has a Certificate of Compliance from the manufacturer.

Purchase receipts and registration cards do not prove that the crib is safe.

Before putting your baby down to sleep, check the crib.  Do not put your baby in any crib that you have not personally checked.

For more information on crib safety and safe sleep environments for baby, visit CPSC’s crib information center at: www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs/index.html.

Borchardt Consulting offers classes to childcare providers and parent groups on many of the products that parents ask about for their infants.

SIDS has been every new parents nightmare since biblical times.  No more.  Parents now have the tools to keep  their babies safe. The goal to keep baby safe begins when you’re pregnant.

  1. Moms get early prenatal care.  See your doctor often when pregnant.
  2. Create a healthy lifestyle while pregnant.
  3. Don’t smoke while pregnant or let anyone smoke around you and your baby.
  4. Don’t drink or use drugs while pregnant.
  5. Plan to breastfeed as long as possible.

Getting the nursery ready is simplier than ever.  Remember, less is more.  Decorate the baby’s room.  Not the baby’s crib.  All you need is a safe crib, a firm mattress (read hard) and a fitted sheet.  That’s it.  Your crib should be manufactured after June 28, 2011 to ensure that it meets all the latest safety guidelines.  This is a place that you will leave your baby unattended for hours so don’t cut corners here.  Don’t borrow an old crib or buy one at the second hand store.  If you plan to use a portable play yard as your baby’s crib, there are new safety standards that will go into effect December 2012.  Place the crib in your room for the first 6 months of baby’s life.

Unsafe Crib

Unsafe Crib

Bumpers, quilts, pillows and stuffed animals should never be in baby’s crib.  They are all too soft and fluffy for an infant. and they pose a suffocation hazard for your baby.  When your baby is old enough to be put in the toddler bed, you can start allowing soft items.  Recently, the Juvinille Products Safety Commission admitted that it could not show any proof that bumpers keep a baby safe from getting arms or legs stuck in the crib slats nor could they prove that bumpers keep baby safe from head injury.  Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and SIDS researchers can prove that bumpers have been directly responsible for the deaths of some infants.  They may be cute, but the are not worth the risk to your baby.

After baby is born, just a few more simple behaviors for parents:

  1. But baby on his or her back alone in the crib.
  2. Use a pacifier after breastfeeding is firmly established for sleep times.
  3. Do not cover baby’s head with hats or blankets.
  4. Put baby in a wearable sleep sack or feetie jammies rather than using blankets.
  5. Swaddle baby if needed, but only up to 6 weeks…and remember to dress baby lighter since you hold in body heat with the blanket.
  6. Get baby all recommended vacinnations.
  7. Never put baby on an adult surface like a couch or adult bed to sleep.

That’s it! You have all the tools needed to keep your baby safe from both SIDS and other sleep related deaths.  Oh, don’t forget that baby needs good tummy time when awake for proper development.  Enjoy your baby!

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Vulnerable Babies Sleep in Pepi-Pod

The 2011 Christchurch New Zealand earthquake created an immediate crisis for the regions vulnerable newborn babies.  There was no safe place for babies to sleep.  This was seen as a public health crisis and the Pepi-Pod was born.  (Pepi means Baby in Maori.) The pēpi-pod package was quickly assembled as an emergency response to the increased risks to babies, posed by disrupted living and sleeping conditions in families, and as support for their fearful parents.  A pepi-pod is a general purpose storage box that converts to a baby sized bed with the addition of an attractive cover, fitting mattress and bedding. It offers babies a safe space when they sleep in, or on, an adult bed, on a couch, in a makeshift setting, or away from home. These are situations with a higher risk of accidental suffocation for babies.

Face Up, Face Clear

Volunteers from all over the country started sewing the covers needed for creating these pods.  Each volunteer used whatever fabric they had available. A complete package of pod, mattress, cover, 2 base sheets, 2 wrap around ‘settling’ sheets, and a double layer merino blanket for each needy family.  Blankets needed to be provided because heat was uncertain in post-quake Christchurch.   Each family receiving a Pepi-Pod received  a thorough safety briefing reinforcing the need to sleep babies on their backs with their faces clear of blankets, smoke-free environment and in their pepi-pod for every sleep.

While I have some concerns about placing these pods in the adult bed, this was a brilliant solution to an immediate public health crisis for infants.  Placing an infant in a pod such as these was certainly safer than placing them on a mattress with the entire family in post-earthquake New Zealand and best of all, to get one, the parents had to have one-on-one safe sleep training.

Pillow Designed to Prop a Bottle

Bottle Prop Pillow

Bottle Propping has been done by busy parents and caregivers for many year.  Baby bottle holders allow a parent to feed a baby, especially twins or triplets hands free. There are a variety of designs, but generally they are cushy pillows that rest on baby’s chest propping up and stablizing the bottle so that they can drink without the need for holding it. Bottle Props can be used while baby is in a stroller, carrier seat, bouncy seat, crib, or boppy – just about anywhere that baby is placed on his or her back.   Some parents can’t imagine getting through the day without bottle propping but it is generally considered a bad idea.  Products used to prop a bottle are considered unsafe for babies and discouraged by medical professionals and safe sleep experts.

Feeding a baby is an optimal time for bonding.  Holding baby close to your body, looking into the baby’s eyes and being reactive to the baby’s cues are all important.  Bottle propping can cause ear infections, choking, gagging and even death.  Read more about the correct way to hold a baby during bottle feeding.

 

Water Ripples

Unintended Consequences Ripple Through Our Lives

As parents, we make choices hundreds of times a day.  We make them for ourselves and for our children.  We try to be good role models.  We try to be knowledgeable on issues about our children’s lives.  But, this is a complicated world and it’s hard to keep up.

 

Even though we try our best, the Law of Unintended Consequences can still come up to bite us in the butt.  What is the Law of Unintended Consequences?  Well, that’s when we can’t see far enough ahead or around the corners of our decisions –when the intended solution actually makes the problem worse.

 

Parenting decisions are full of these unintended consequences.  I recently talked with a mom who said, “We put bumpers in our baby’s bed.  We felt like such rebels!”  Her feeling was that she was protecting her baby from the bumps and bruises of hitting his head on the crib or having his arms and legs become entangled in the slats.  She had been told by her physician that a bare crib was best but that advice didn’t feel comfortable to her.  Bumpers are cute.  Bumpers are soft.  Bumpers make a baby’s world more comfortable and they wouldn’t sell them if they weren’t safe.  Would they?

 

In short, she felt she was being protective of her baby boy.  She was being a better mom by providing him a comfortable, well-padded sleep place –until she discovered him dead in his crib with his face pressed up against those bumpers.

 

The Law of Unintended Consequences – A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended, such as when a decision has a perverse outcome that causes the opposite to what was intended.

 

Unintended consequences happen frequently in our lives.   When the American Academy of Pediatrics first stated that babies could sleep on either their backs or their sides they could not predict that a whole new industry of unsafe products called “Sleep Positioners” would develop.  Later, when doctors encouraged parents to only place babies on their backs to sleep, no one could have predicted that many parents would follow that advice so closely that babies started developing flat heads and developmental delays.

 

As parents, we grow, we learn, we gain experience and hopefully, we get lucky enough not to be seriously bitten by the Law of Unintended Consequences.


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