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Health & Baby

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Sleep-Position Devices for Babies Are Risky

2 Federal Agencies Warn of Death Risk for Infants Using Sleep Positioners

Sleep Positioners and SIDS continued...

“A baby can roll at any time,” she says.

The warning “is not a surprise,” says Deborah Lonzer, MD, chair of community pediatrics at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. “We’ve been recommending for years that parents don’t use them.”

Lonzer says she will now consider including adding a warning about the devices to the hospital’s literature for new and expectant parents.

“It’s a great idea to educate parents [about the risks of sleep positioners] in writing earlier than we do,” she says.

Recall Still a Possibility

Both the FDA and the CPSC advise parents that their baby should sleep on his or her back. They warn against putting anything soft -- such as pillows, blankets, quilts, or comforters -- beneath a baby in the crib.

The FDA and the CPSC are in touch with several manufacturers of sleep positioners, five of whom have given spoken agreements to stop manufacturing and marketing the devices. They expect to hear from the remaining manufacturers soon. No product recall has been announced, though the possibility has not been ruled out, Sharfstein says.

“You might see some recalls, you might see some court cases,” he says. “But the important thing now is the public health message. ... We don’t think [parents] should buy them, we don’t think they should use them, we don’t think stores should sell them, we don’t think manufacturers should make them.”

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