Inclined baby sleepers could be risky
In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:
1. Why are inclined sleep products risky?
2. How best to put baby to sleep?
3. Where to check and report recalls?
Do you know that certain infant-inclined sleepers and bouncy seats you may have used with your older children most likely have been recalled because of safety concerns? Child safety experts are always studying the best ways to put your baby to sleep and investigating and testing baby gear for safety.
1. WHY ARE INCLINED SLEEPERS RISKY?
The width of a baby’s airway is smaller than your pinky, says Kathryn Wall, program director of Safe Kids Palm Beach County. The hammock-like effect of soft inclined sleepers can flex a baby’s neck forward, pinch off the airway, and trap poisonous carbon dioxide if the baby’s head tilts to the side.
“As adults, we have the subconscious awareness and the physical ability to re-position ourselves if we can’t breathe correctly. Babies are unable to avoid a dangerous posture where they re-breathe exhaled air,” says Wall.
2. WHAT's THE SAFEST WAY TO PUT BABY TO SLEEP?
The safest option is to avoid inclined sleepers. The best way to put babies to sleep is on their backs, alone, on a flat surface with no pillows, toys, or blankets that could interfere with air exchange, Wall says.
She encourages parents and caregivers to visit the Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Academy to watch a video about the re-breathing theory.
Wall says if you can't afford a safe crib for your baby, local organizations can help. Caregivers can contact Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County at 561-665-4500, or HomeSafe at 561-383-9800.
3. WHERE TO CHECK AND REPORT RECALLS?
Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to scroll through a continually updated list of recalled items, as well as read important news and helpful safety tips. Parents and caregivers can see photos and subscribe to daily email alerts for infant/child-recalled products.
James Butscher is one of three federal safety commission investigators covering Florida from his base in Palm Beach County. He visits hotels, furniture rental companies, and resale stores to educate personnel and search for recalled baby items.
“There’s no way for us to know about these products if people don’t tell us,” says Butscher, who encourages consumers to upload their photos and fill out reports at SaferProducts.gov if they’re concerned about products. This way, the safety commission can investigate and help protect children.
You can call the commission’s hotline at 800-638-2772 or Butscher at 240-429-4036. His email is JButscher@cpsc.gov.
• James Butscher, federal investigator, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
• Kathryn Wall, program director, Safe Kids Palm Beach County
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Florida Department of Health
Safe Sleep Q&A – provides answers to caregivers' questions about the best way to put babies to sleep to prevent infant death850-245-4465 Website
Florida Department of Children and Families
Safe Sleep — information on how babies should sleep properly to prevent infant deathWebsite
Sleep Baby Safely
A website developed by the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County providing helpful information to prevent sleep-related infant deaths727-453-5600 Website Email
Healthy Beginnings Entry Agency — provides free child development and social-emotional/behavioral screenings to Palm Beach County children through age 5 to determine if they're eligible for services funded by Children's Services Council561-383-9800 Website Email