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Sleep Positioners: Avoid Use

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding sleep positioners. Because your new baby spends so much time sleeping, it is important to be aware of safety measures while he slumbers.

What is a sleep positioner?

A sleep positioner is a flat or wedged mat with bolsters on either side that is frequently used to keep a baby positioned on his back while sleeping.

These products have been on the market for more than 20 years, and many manufacturers claim they improve a baby’s food digestion, reduce colic or the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and may prevent positional skull deformities, although these claims have not been supported by research.

Risk of suffocation

The AAP and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urge parents not to use these devices because a baby can suffocate while in a positioner. A baby can also become trapped and suffocate between the sleep positioner and the side of baby’s bed. Unfortunately, sleep positioners are still on the market, despite these warnings from the AAP and FDA. Please be aware that the risk of suffocation is not worth any potential benefits, and don’t be tempted to use a sleep positioner with your baby.

Stick with AAP policy

Put baby down for sleep on a firm, flat surface. Also, speak to your child’s pediatrician if your baby has congestion or reflux.

Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L
Last Updated
Retro Baby (Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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