Take this product off of your baby registry (or out of your crib!) STAT. 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.
At issue are the bolsters, or "pillows," that surround the baby, which manufacturers tout as preventing an infant from rolling out of the safe, on-your-back sleep position that parents should use. But in practice, the FDA says that babies have still managed to turn over, and some have suffocated on the cushioning surrounding them. "The federal government has received reports about babies who have died from suffocation associated with their sleep positioners," the FDA says in a statement. "In most of these cases, the babies suffocated after rolling from their sides to their stomachs."
Many of the sleep positioners have claimed medical benefits from their use, including a reduction in acid reflux, a reduced likelihood of developing flat head syndrome, and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which kills thousands of babies each year. But the FDA has found that no sleep positioners can produce data that they reduce the risk of SIDS, and the ones that did show data that they reduced acid reflux or flat head syndrome were unable to show that the benefits of using the product outweighed the dangers.
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In fact, the FDA currently recommends that you never use sleep positioners for your baby. The FDA asked manufacturers to stop selling these products back in 2010—but they're still available for sale at many retailers. The best thing? Save your money—and perhaps, your baby's life.