Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Deadly Sleep Positioners

Infant sleep positioners (ISPs) promise to reduce risk for sudden infant death, prevent "flat heads" in babies who would otherwise sleep on their backs, and "keep baby safer and cooler." But a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says these devices contribute to the top cause of injury-related deaths in babies: Suffocation.

Deadly Sleep Positioners

 By Sari Harrar

Infant sleep positioners (ISPs) promise to reduce risk for sudden infant death, prevent “flat heads” in babies who would otherwise sleep on their backs, and “keep baby safer and cooler.” But a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says these devices contribute to the top cause of injury-related deaths in babies: Suffocation.
 
“Some specific ISPs have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of gastroesophageal reflux or plagiocephaly (asymmetry of the skull),” the report says. Those are available by prescription. “However, many unapproved ISPs have been marketed to the general public with claims of preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), improving health, and enhancing sleep comfort.”
 
Thirteen babies died due to suffocation with the use of sleep positioners between 1997 and 2011. They ranged in age from 21 days to four months old. Eight were boys; 14 had been born prematurely. Three were one of a pair of twins. Most had been placed on their sides to sleep -- rather than on their backs, as recommended by pediatricians’ groups. But the babies couldn’t breathe when their mouth and nose was trapped against one of the positioner’s foam-and-cloth bolsters.
 
The CDC’s advice to parents? Only use a positioner prescribed by your child’s doctor. “Despite other manufacturers’ claims regarding SIDS prevention or other health benefits, the FDA has never cleared or approved an ISP for preventing or reducing the risk for SIDS. Cleared ISPs should only be used by prescription for treatment of specific medical conditions.”
 
After a similar warning was issued by the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2010, the FDA contacted all manufacturers requesting that all sales be halted until companies submit safety and effectiveness data that not only support the medical claims of their devices but also demonstrate that benefits from use of the product outweigh the risks for suffocation. But the CDC warns that hand-me-down positioners are still out there -- and should be avoided.

 

About this blog
Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Mario Cruz, M.D. St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected