This past week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to stop using infant sleep positioners. During the last 13 years, the agencies have received 12 reports of infants between the ages of one and four months who died when they suffocated in sleep positioners or became trapped and suffocated between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet. The suffocation typically occurred when the infants rolled from a side to stomach position. CPSC has also received dozens of reports of infants who were placed on their backs or sides in sleep positioners and then found later in potentially hazardous positions within or next to the sleep positioners.
There are two primary types of infant sleep positioners: flat mats with side bolsters or inclined (wedge) mats with side bolsters. Manufacturers of both types typically claim that their products help keep infants on their backs and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, the FDA has never cleared an infant sleep positioner to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS, and CPSC and FDA are unaware of any scientific studies to support this claim.
For more information, including photos of infant sleep positioners, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10358.html. You can report a problem with an infant sleep positioner through the FDA's MedWatch program at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/HowToReport/default.htm or with the CPSC at https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx.