Editor’s Note: This story has started this week’s Early Childhood Newsletter, which is delivered free of charge to customers ’inboxes every Wednesday with trends and top stories of elementary education. Subscribe today!
Over the years, sleep-deprived parents have become obsessed with advertising baby sleep products that promise success for children in terms of improved sleep, less restlessness, and “facilitating the transition from the womb to the earth.” Despite the concerns of pediatricians, many of these products are available in stores and online that they are unsafe for children. Now, a shaky goal of the national effort is to raise awareness of the risks posed by these few items and crack down on potentially dangerous products.
Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published updated Safe Sleep Recommendations, which for the first time discouraged the use of products such as weighted saddles and weighted sleeping bags, as well as home cardiorespiratory monitors. The popularity of these products has increased since the AAP last published recommendations in 2016 The agency encourages parents to put children to sleep on flat, non-sloping sleeping surfaces, supporting the popularity of slip-on sleepers that have killed at least 94 people in the last 10 years. The guidelines repeat the previous advice that children should sleep in the same room – but not in the same bed – as their caregivers.
The updated recommendations closely follow a new federal law banning the sale of crib bumpers and baby sleepers with a bias of more than 10 degrees, new federal standards for baby sleep products set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which came into effect last week, and A new safety commission standard for crib mattresses and play yards, which will take effect this fall.
Pediatricians and parents who advocate for safe sleep hope that these efforts will further guide parents and ensure that products are as safe as possible for children, especially in a market where some baby items have slipped through uncontrolled or regulatory cracks. Each year, about 3,500 children die in their sleep, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and suffocation.
Parents can believe that baby sleep products are regulated by federal agencies and must pass strict safety tests before they can be sold. But it did not happen. Products that do not fall into the regulated category for a long time, such as Cribe or Basinet, are allowed to enter the market without such safety rules. (Other regulations relating to additional safety aspects of a product, such as combustion of a material, lead content and product labels may apply.)
“There are some flaws in the system,” said Dr. Michael Goodstein, head of the Department of Neonatal Medicine at Welspan Health and an adjunct professor of pediatrics at Pennsylvania State University. “When you create a unique product, it’s like, there’s no monitoring of it until the standards are improved,” he said. “And a lot of times we don’t find that there’s a problem until after this incident.” In contrast, manufacturers of other products such as medicines must prove safety before selling items, he added.
Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play, for example, was sold without medical safety testing. An investigation into a 2019 consumer report found that it was withdrawn in 2019 after dozens of children died in sleepers, which featured a 30-degree bend.
Pediatricians say that some baby product manufacturers may claim that their products are safe for sleep but that evidence is not always subject to verification. Dreamland Baby Co., which makes weighted blankets and sleeping bags, points to multiple studies of children and adults using weighted blankets on a web page about product safety for children. The company also includes a child study as evidence of the safety of its products. But some pediatricians and proponents of safe sleep say that the study, which looked at only 16 newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome who used weighted blankets for 30 minutes during hospital observations, does not necessarily prove that weighted sleeping bags are safe for overnight sleep. In the house.
“There is absolutely no data to support the use of weighted sleeping bags in the home environment, zero,” Goodstein said. “People translate what works for adults and kids, ‘If it’s good for us, it has to be great for kids,'” he added. “Children are not big or small. They are children. They are completely different with different physiological and different needs. “
In a statement in The Hatching Report, Tara Williams, founder of Dreamland Baby, said the company is partnering with a university to conduct a clinical study on the safety of weight-bearing sleep products in “non-clinical sleep environments.” He encouraged parents and caregivers to read the new Safe Sleep recommendations, but said he “has full confidence in the effectiveness and safety of our products.”
Laura Hegstrom, a mother of two living in Colorado, assumed that her daughter had been sleeping in a heavy sleeping bag for months because a baby was safe because it was marketed for children and allowed on multiple store shelves. It was “eye-opening” when she learned that, several years after her second child became pregnant, many pediatricians thought overweight sleeping bags could be dangerous: overweight could overheat babies or keep them in an unsafe position on their stomachs. They can then suffocate. She promised to do more research on safe sleep before the birth of her second child.
It was not the only potentially unsafe product his family used. Hegstrom’s daughter slept on the now-memorable Fisher-Price rock ‘N Play’ as a child; The family pediatrician warned Hegstrom that the product was unsafe when he mentioned it in an appointment.
Some parents have expressed concern about online product reviews and overweight sleeping products on official channels. On a federal website that collects consumer complaints, one parent said the weighted portion of a sleeping bag made by Nested Bean froze around his 3-month-old neck, “creating a serious possibility of suffocation.” Nested Bin did not respond to a request for comment.
“Recommendations against overweight saddles and sleeping bags are particularly concerned about the fact that weight on the chest can compress the movement of the chest and the weight can both make it impossible for babies to enter and then get out of unsafe sleeping positions,” said Dr. Rebecca Carlin, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University, is a pediatric hospitalist and one of the authors of the new AAP recommendation, in an email interview. “While I certainly sympathize with the children’s desire to calm down and calm down, anything that makes a baby’s breathing difficult or potentially suppresses a baby’s breathing drive is not recommended.”
Removing unsafe products from shelves will help make the sleeping environment safer, experts say, but parents and caregivers also need to learn more about how to keep sleeping babies safe and why the AAP warns against certain products and the environment. While some parents know about safe sleep but may choose not to follow the recommendations for various reasons, others may not know that their baby’s sleep system is unsafe.
Katie Gates, a parent who runs a childcare center in California, said most of her safe sleep information came from her own research. “The information is there, but it wasn’t as easily accessible as I thought,” Getz said. “I stumbled upon it on Facebook… no one said safe sleep.” While working in childcare he learned about some unsafe sleeping environments, such as the cradle, he said he didn’t know much when he was a parent about three years ago. She said parents should be further educated at prenatal care appointments, in hospitals or even on billboards to ensure the information has been made “more available and more normalized”.
Although some parents get information on safe sleep in the hospital, many do not. And the information they get may be insufficient, parents say.
A 2015 survey in Nebraska found that hospitals do not provide a “consistent message” about safe sleep and that patient learning materials and processes vary. A 2019 study, using data from previous surveys, found that within two to nine months after delivery, most mothers across the country received advice from healthcare providers on various safe sleep habits, but the issues covered by the providers are different. Pediatricians and other healthcare professionals can make a difference: the study also found that parents were more likely to follow recommended practices if they were instructed to sleep safely.
Michelle Barry, a mother of two, says she was not taught anything about safe sleep when she gave birth to her first child in Connecticut in 2017. Before going home, he said he was given a checklist about safe sleep and asked to read and sign it, acknowledging that he understood. Her son fell asleep on the now-memorable Fisher-Price rock ‘N Play’. Barry founded a safe sleep nonprofit in 2020, based on a safe sleep support group on Facebook. Much of her work now focuses on sharing evidence-based safe sleep information with other caregivers on social media. (Barry is leading a committee with ASTM International to develop regulations for wearable baby blankets, an organization that sets voluntary standards for products that countries may use as part of formal safety regulations.)
In recent years, states such as South Carolina and Maine have sought to expand information and training hospitals for new parents. One program tried to solve the problem of safe sleep by sending information to new parents while they were at home with their children and may not be able to follow the safe sleep guidelines.
Parents and pediatricians say improved education can save lives. Carlin, a Colombian pediatrician, says “a lot of work can be done” to improve safe sleep education and that it is “respectable, fair and culturally appropriate.” It should be in different settings before a baby is born, he said, and, if possible, send a message of safe sleeping habits to all caregivers and family members, so babies are made to sleep on their backs without loose blankets. .
“When new parents are tired and overwhelmed at the hospital or at the initial antenatal visit, it can be difficult for them to accept all the education provided, ”said Carlin. “However, if we can build a positive attitude around safe sleep habits and provide education during pregnancy, parents are probably planning to use these exercises.”
Hegstrom said she feels angry and sick when she looks back at unsafe products she bought and used with her first child. “I felt like I failed to throw him into something that was potentially fatal, even though I had no reasonable way of knowing,” he said. He destroyed his rock ‘n play and weighted saddles to make sure no one else would use them as they were unsafe. Her second child, 1 year old, now sleeps in a weightless sleeping bag in a portable goat in her bedroom. She said it worries her that she doesn’t know much about safe sleep even though she has enough help and resources on hand. “It really worries me about moms and dads who don’t have that kind of resources and education, and they’re just unknowingly using these products,” he said.
Children are produced by this story about sleep products Hatchinger report, A non-profit, independent news organization focusing on inequality and innovation in education. For registration Hatchinger’s newsletter.