NEWS: Warning over baby sleep aids

A baby sleep positioner

Baby sleep positioners have been pulled from the shelves of some UK retailers amid concerns over their safety.

A US health regulator said they “can cause suffocation that can lead to death” and have been linked to 12 infant deaths in the US.

The positioners, aimed at infants under six months, are intended to keep a baby in a specific position while sleeping.

Mothercare and Tesco have stopped selling sleep positioners, but they are still available from other retailers.

Ebay has also reportedly removed the products from its website after the US authority’s recommendation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US released a statement explaining the items – often called “nests” or “anti-roll” products – have caused some babies to suffocate after rolling from their sides to their stomachs.

It said the two most common types of sleep positioners feature raised supports or pillows (called “bolsters”) that are attached to each side of a mat, or a wedge to raise a baby’s head.

The FDA first issued a safety warning seven years ago, saying “in light of the suffocation risk and the lack of evidence of any benefits, we are warning consumers to stop using these products”.

Mothercare had been selling a sleep positioner for £39.99 but has told the BBC it is no longer for sale.

It came with a warning that it should not be used once a baby was able to turn around on their own.

Tesco, which sold sleep positioners on its website through a third party, said: “We have removed these products from our website as a precautionary measure.”

The Lullaby Trust, a cot death charity, maintains that there is no need to use any type of equipment or rolled up blankets to keep a baby in one position, unless parents have been advised to do so by a health professional for a specific medical condition.

It recommends that babies sleep in cots “kept as clear as possible”. This means no pillows or duvets, no cot bumpers, no soft toys, no loose bedding and no products – such as wedges or straps – that keep a baby in one position.

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