Posts Tagged ‘ sleep safety ’

Bassinets and Cradles Get New Federal Safety Standards

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved new safety standards for cradles and bassinets, designed to prevent deaths and injuries that can happen in poorly constructed versions.  More than 130 children died between 2007 and 2013 because of faulty bassinets and cradles, and the CPSC is aware of 426 incidents involving them.  The new guidelines include:

  1. a clarification of the scope of the bassinet/cradle standard;
  2. a change to the pass/fail criterion for the mattress flatness test;
  3. an exemption from the mattress flatness requirement for bassinets that are less than 15 inches across;
  4. the addition of a removable bassinet bed stability requirement; and
  5. a change to the stability test procedure, requiring the use of a newborn CAMI dummy rather than an infant CAMI dummy.

The new standards, which define “bassinet or cradle” as a small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants, supported by free standing legs, a stationary frame or stand, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or swing relative to a stationary base. In a stationary (non-rocking or swinging) position, a bassinet/cradle is intended to have a sleep surface less than or equal to 10 degrees from horizontal.  Bassinets and cradles are not meant to be used past the age of 5 months.

A major impetus behind the new guidelines is the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  Check your own sleep safety habits by reading this article by Parents.com’s health director:  The Safe-Sleep Rules Parents Break

Image: Bassinet, via Shutterstock

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Almost Half of Babies’ Heads Have Flat Spots

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Nearly half of two-month-old babies who were part of a recent study were found to have flat spots on their heads.  Researchers at Mount Royal University in Calgary believe that the culprit could be the widespread use of devices like swings and seats that hold babies in static positions, and the practice–recommended as the safest way to protect against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)–of laying babies to sleep on their backs.  More from NBC.com:

“The reason why we want to catch this early is because if we see children with flattened heads, sometimes there are changes in their facial features,” says Aliyah Mawji, a registered nurse at the university who led the study.

Pediatricians and pediatric nurses have noticed a big increase in the number of babies with flat spots on their heads – a condition known as positional plagiocephaly (“oblique head” in Greek).

Most experts say it’s due to advice to put babies to sleep on their backs – which in turn has slashed rates of sudden infant deaths syndrome or SIDS. But babies have big, heavy heads and weak little necks, which means their heads tend to roll to one side. Because their skulls are still soft, this can cause a flat spot….

…So [Mawji] and colleagues did a survey in four Calgary clinics where parents bring their babies – each in a different type of neighborhood. They looked at 440 babies aged 7 to 12 weeks. “We found that 46.6 percent actually had some form of plagiocephaly,” Mawji says.

A slight majority, 63 percent, had the flat spot on the right, and Mawji says that comes from the moment of birth.

“This is actually due to the birthing process itself,” Mawji says. “The majority of infants come out in such a way that their head is turned to the right.” This is in part because the mother’s pelvic bone and spine don’t move – they’re hard bones – so the more flexible baby ends up squished and twisted.

If a baby doesn’t move around enough, this flat spot can become more permanent. And if no one does anything, and the skull hardens, it could become really permanent.

Most of the cases Mawji saw were mild. And while she took care to get a range of family types into her study, she stresses that more research is needed to really show how common the issue is across the larger North American population. But her findings show it is probably more common than most people thought.

Experts recommend parents make a concerted effort to move their babies regularly, still putting them to sleep on their backs, but encouraging them to alternate which side of their head is against the mattress, seat, or swing.

Image: Sleeping baby, via Shutterstock

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Crib Bumper Pads Banned in Maryland

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Bumper pads, the plush liners that are intended to prevent infants from bumping their heads on their wooden cribs, will be banned in the state of Maryland starting Friday.  The state cited safety concerns, including a suffocation risk, and lack of measurable benefits in making its rule.  The Associated Press has more:

Maryland’s health department notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health all advise against their use.

The department will issue a warning to someone who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland. Further violations can bring a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold.

The ban doesn’t apply to vertical bumpers that wrap tightly around each crib rail or mesh crib liners, but the health department doesn’t endorse them.

For more information on crib safety click here.

Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock

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CPSC Sues Infant Recliner Maker After 5 Deaths

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is suing Baby Matters, LLC, a company that make so-called “infant recliners” after 5 infants have died while using them. Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill are the two models responsible for the deaths.

The Nap Nanny was recalled in 2010 due to entrapment and strangulation hazards, but was redesigned and allowed back on the market. The CPSC released the following statement about the lawsuit:

“CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved the Chill model.

To date, CPSC has received a total of over 70 additional incident reports of children nearly falling out of the product. The staff alleges that the products create a substantial risk of injury to the public.

CPSC staff filed the administrative complaint against Baby Matters, LLC after discussions with the company and its representatives failed to result in an adequate voluntary recall plan that would address the hazard posed by consumer use of the product in a crib or without the harness straps being securely fastened.

In July 2010, CPSC and Baby Matters, LLC issued a joint recall news release to announce an $80 coupon to Generation One owners toward the purchase of a newer model and improved instructions and warnings to consumers who owned the Generation Two model of Nap Nanny recliners.”

Image: Nap Nanny Generation 2, via http://www.cpsc.gov/

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Baby Sleep Positioners Deemed Dangerous by CPSC

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Federal officials from two agencies are warning that “baby sleep positioners,” mat- or wedge-shaped bolsters that are supposed to encourage babies to sleep on their backs, are actually quite dangerous and are responsible for at least 13 deaths in the past 15 years. The New York Times has more:

“We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners,” Inez Tenenbaum, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement.

The sleep positioner devices come primarily in two forms. One is a flat mat with soft bolsters on each side. The other, known as a wedge-style positioner, looks very similar but has an incline, keeping a child in a very slight upright position.

Makers of the devices claim that by keeping infants in a specific position as they sleep, they can prevent several conditions, including acid reflux and flat head syndrome, a deformation caused by pressure on one part of the skull. Many are also marketed to parents as a way to help reduce a child’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, which kills thousands of babies every year, most between the ages of 2 months and 4 months.

But the devices have never been shown in studies to prevent SIDS, and they may actually raise the likelihood of sudden infant death, officials say. One of the leading risk factors for sudden infant death is placing a baby on his or her stomach at bedtime, and health officials have routinely warned parents to lay babies on their backs. They even initiated a “Back to Sleep” campaign in the 1990s, which led to a sharp reduction in sudden infant deaths.

With the positioner devices, if an infant rolls onto the stomach, the child’s mouth and nose can press up against a bolster or some other part of the device, leading to suffocation. Even if placed on the back, a child can move up or down in the positioner, “entrapping its face against a bolster or becoming trapped between the positioner and the crib side,” Gail Gantt, a nurse consultant with the Food and Drug Administration, said in an e-mail. Or the child might scoot down the wedge in a way that causes the child’s mouth and nose to press into the device.

Image: Sleeping baby, via Shutterstock

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