Consumer Reports investigation finds infant deaths linked to in-bed sleep products

Updated: Oct. 25, 2019 at 4:16 PM CDT
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(WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - Months after a Consumer Reports investigation prompted the recall of millions of popular infant inclined sleep products, new data shows potential dangers with other children’s sleep products as well.

This time in-bed sleepers are at issue. At least a dozen infant deaths have been linked to them. And once again, Consumer Reports is sounding the alarm, alerting parents to the risks of in-bed sleepers.

Consumer Reports has found major safety issues with in-bed infant sleeper products like the Baby Delight Snuggle Nest Infant Sleeper, DockATot and SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper. In fact, the investigation found in-bed infant sleepers like these were linked to at least 12 infant deaths between 2012 and 2018.

Yet unlike cribs, bassinets, play yard and bedside sleepers, in-bed sleepers are not required to meet any federal safety standards related to infant sleep.

“All of these in-bed sleepers have potentially dangerous design elements -- but most notably, the padding and the soft surfaces pose a suffocation risk if the babies roll into the soft fabric," said Rachel Rabkin Peachman, Consumer Reports investigative journalist. "And with any in-bed sleeper, there are variables we just can’t control -- the adults could inadvertently roll over onto the product and the baby or even make the product unstable so that the baby rolls and turn into the soft bedding of the sleeper.”

Consumer Reports reached out to all three brands about the incidents. DockATot declined to comment, while the makers of SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper and the Snuggle Next say their products are not responsible for any infant deaths, which they say were caused by other factors.

Still, CR’s safety experts believe that none of these products have been adequately safety-tested and none adhere to safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations.

CR urges parents to stop using inclined sleepers or any sleep products, including in-bed sleepers, that do not meet federal safety requirements related to infant sleep. Parents should always put their babies to sleep in a bassinet, crib, play yard or bedside sleeper without any soft bedding or bumpers.

Many new parents prefer to keep their baby close-by the bed to help make sleep and nighttime feedings easier. New mom Sara Axelbaum is working with her postpartum doula, Sara Loudwig, to set a safe sleep routine for baby Denver.

“So at nighttime, we like to have him in this bassinet -- near us but not with us,” said Axelbaum.

Loudwig said consistency is key with sleep.

“It can be so tempting, especially when you’re struggling to use something that seems to be helpful but you want to make sure that you’re always observing safe sleep practices so that in the long run, everyone gets as much rest as possible," said Loudwig.

Another cause of concern, a study out this week in the journal “Pediatrics" found that only a third of mothers reported always putting their child to sleep in a product approved for infant sleep, like a crib, bassinet or play yard. The study also found that most mothers said they put their baby to bed with blankets, crib bumpers, soft toys or pillows, which are frequently found in sleep-related infant death cases.

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