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Posts Tagged ‘Safety

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.


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.


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.

Last week on Private Practice one of the doctors had a new baby.  Unfortunately, the depiction of the baby’s crib was very unsafe.  This just frosts me!  Safe Sleep practices have been well documented and countless hours are spent by health professionals and not-for-profit organizations trying to spread the word to new parents about the importance of placing baby on his back, alone in a safe crib with no soft bedding.  Then, one television show comes along and wipes out much of that good work.

We know from our research that parents are heavily influenced by advertisements, magazine articles and television shows depicting baby rooms.  When talking with new parents, we hear all about J-Lo’s twins cribs (YIKES), and now this.  Why is it so difficult to incorporate a safe sleep message into these shows.  As the saying goes – a picture is worth a thousand words.  Do you think that you might have noticed if Dr. Montgomery had placed her little Henry down in a crib without bumpers, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and a hat on his head?

Kudos to the Consumer Product Safety Commision for writing such a well-done letter to those in charge at Private Practice.

By CPSC Blogger on May 1, 2012

Dear Dr. Addison Montgomery,

On last week’s episode of “Private Practice,” we saw that you have a new baby. Congratulations on becoming Henry’s mom! As you’re learning, parenthood is life altering.

You’re clearly a mom who researches and finds the best for her baby, even supplying breast milk from a milk bank. As an obstetrician, however, we would expect you to have researched the latest information about crib safety as well.

Henry's cluttered crib on the ABC TV Show "Private Practice"

This screen grab from “Private Practice” shows baby Henry in his crib

Those blankets and pillows in the crib have to go. Henry doesn’t need the cushioning. His baby needs are different than adult needs like yours. CPSC staff estimates that between 1992 and 2010 there were nearly 700 deaths involving children 12 months and younger related to pillows and cushions. Nearly half of the infant crib deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported to CPSC each year are suffocations from a baby being placed on top of pillows and thick quilts or because of overcrowding in the baby’s sleeping space.

We are disappointed with the lack of research that went into creating Henry’s nursery, so allow us to help. We have a great video here that can teach you about how to put Henry to sleep safely. While you rightly placed Henry on his back, we did a double take through the TV for all the loose blankets and clutter in Henry’s crib.

In Henry’s — or any baby’s crib — bare is best. As a respected obstetrician watched in millions of homes around the country, we expect better.

Henry needs a firm, flat surface and nothing else.

Even though the pillow in the back of Henry’s crib looks small, pillows are a big problem in cribs. Pillows can block babies’ noses and mouths and can cause them to suffocate. On average, there are 32 infant deaths each year on pillows used as a mattress or to prop babies’ heads. The majority of these deaths are to infants in their first three months of life, just like Henry.

We’re guessing that you covered Henry with all those blankets in a well-meaning way, worried about his temperature. If his room is cold, dress him in warm clothes like footie pajamas. Do not use thick blankets. Babies can and do get their faces stuck in thick blankets and suffocate.

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn about how to make Henry’s crib safer for him. We hope he starts sleeping through the night for you soon!


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Children’s Safe Sleep Team

If you are currently using a crib, please check out this article on the latest crib recall.

Crib Recall: Largest Recall of Dropdown Cribs – ABC News.

Cribs are always the safest place to sleep a baby, but you must routinely check to make certain that none of your baby’s products have been recalled.  Also, make a practice of inspecting your baby’s crib to make certain that none of the screws are loose.

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