Baby Sleep Positioners–Why the Recall?

UK retailers including Tesco, Mothercare and John Lewis are set to remove baby sleep positioners from their shelves following an FDA safety warning–but are sleep nests considered dangerous, too?

Sleeping baby

Following evidence of a connection to the deaths of 12 babies in the USA over the past 13 years, the FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration) has released a safety statement warning parents to avoid sleep positioners. The FDA explains: “These products – sometimes also called ‘nests’ or ‘anti-roll’ products – can cause suffocation (a struggle to breathe) that can lead to death.”

The statement is misleading, however, in that it refers to sleep positioners as “nests”; according to the Lullaby Trust, “sleep positioners are straps or wedges that hold a baby in place”–which is not the same as nest (or pod). The BPA (Baby Products Association) makes clear the distinction:

“Sleep positioners and baby nests are being incorrectly grouped together and are in fact quite different. Typically sleep positioners position a baby in a restrictive way whereas nests provide a non-restrictive sleep surface/area.”

Still, The Lullaby Trust reiterates that the safest sleep environment for your baby is “on a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in a cot or Moses basket”. On this count, nests and pods do not qualify as the ‘safest sleep environment’–because of their raised and padded sides.

The standard caveat with infant sleep, however, is to remain with your baby while he sleeps–day or night. This supervision minimises any risk of suffocation should you choose to use nests or pods.

But the sleep positioner recall does remind us that just because a product is in the market, doesn’t make it infallibly safe.

Importantly, sleep positioners haven’t been banned in the UK, and the BPA states that there have been no known fatalities linked to UK sleep positioner products.
The Sleepyhead nest makers remind of their cardinal product safety rules:

Always supervise your child

  • Always place the Sleepyhead on a flat, firm, stable surface
  • Never raise any part of the Sleepyhead – it must remain flat

Via madeformums