Parents, doctors tossing out potentially deadly sleep positioners

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas parents and doctors say they are tossing out those sleep positioners for infants. That is because the FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning, saying the positioners can be deadly.

Like many others, mom, Martha Reilly has used sleep positioners.

"I used it with my daughter who's now two and it was because...all the experts say put them on their backs," said Reilly. "Occasionally, she would wiggle down close to it but...never anything that scared me or alarmed me."

But, it is alarming for her to learn that all of them, whether flat with bumpers or with an inclined wedge, can potentially be deadly.

"The hazard is babies can get suffocated or can roll from side position to stomach position," said Nychelle Fleming, with CPSC.

The CPSC says 12 infants have died over the last 13 years, either by suffocation or becoming trapped between the positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet. Dozens of other reports show babies were found in hazardous positions.

"The goal of the positioners is to try and keep the infant face up, but babies wiggle and can turn and so they can get wedged in between the bumpers, and so you want to prevent that risk," said Dr. David Osteen, a pediatrician, who says he has also used the popular positioners with his infant at home. "We're no longer going to use ours."

He says the wedged ones were intended to help babies with their reflexes. But that was never proven. He does not recommend them.

"The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FDA are working directly with manufacturers to stop sale," said Fleming.

To be safe, the CPSC advises parents to keep cribs bare and lay babies on their backs - exactly what Reilly did with her latest bundle of joy.

"We just kept her on her back and swaddled," said Reilly. I was just afraid to do too much with her."

The American Academy of Pediatrics says placing babies on their back also reduces the risk of SIDA or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.