Mother and Baby

Retailers withdraw baby sleep positioners amid suffocation fears – we spoke to The Lullaby Trust to find out more

Baby sleeping on back

British retailers have removed baby sleep positioners from their shelves after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement, warning about the risks of suffocation.

The report said: ‘these products – sometimes also called ‘nests’ or ‘anti-roll’ products – can cause suffocation (a struggle to breathe) that can lead to death.

‘Each year, about 4,000 infants die unexpectedly during sleep time from accidental suffocation, SIDS, or unknown causes. The federal government has received reports about babies who have died from suffocation associated with their sleep positioners. In most of these cases, the babies suffocated after rolling from their sides to their stomachs.’

Amongst the retailers removing the products are Mothercare, John Lewis, Tesco and eBay. A Tesco spokesperson said: ‘we have removed these products from our website as a precautionary measure.’

How should my baby sleep safely?

We spoke to The Lullaby Trust about the statement from the FDA, they responded: ‘There are hundreds of baby sleep products on the market and parents assume that if something is for sale it is safe to use.

'We do not recommend wedges and sleep positioners as evidence shows that the safest way for a baby to sleep is on a firm flat mattress, in a clear cot free of pillows, toys, bumpers and sleep positioners. Babies are at higher risk of SIDS if they have their heads covered and some items added to a cot may increase the risk of head-covering and can also increase the risk of accidents.

'We recommend that while evidence on individual products is not widely available that parents do not take any chances and stick to scientifically proven safer sleep guidelines.’

According to The Lullaby Trust’s safer sleep guidelines, your baby should:

  • Always sleep on their back for every sleep, day and night. SIDS is particularly high for babies who are sometimes placed on their front or side.
  • Sleep on a firm and flat mattress.
  • Sleep  in a clear cot. Babies are at higher risk of SIDS if they have their heads covered, so it is safest to keep your baby’s cot clear of items such as bumpers or loose bedding.
  • Sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket, in your bedroom, for the first six months.

How can I tell is a product is safe?

The Lullaby Trust have released guidelines on how to choose safe sleeping products for your baby here.


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