Pediatricians Warn Weighted Baby Sleep Sack May Cause SIDS

Pediatricians Warn Weighted Baby Sleep Sack May Cause SIDS

Doctors are warning parents against buying the baby sleep sack, a weighted swaddle blanket designed for infants. In a major public service announcement, pediatricians say the blanket, which is meant to mimic the sensation of “being held or hugged” could turn deadly.

For years, pediatricians have advised parents not to place any objects in an infant’s crib or sleeping area, citing the dangers of sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS. Infants are not born with the reaction to move their faces away from obstructions when they aren’t getting enough oxygen, which ultimately leads to their death.

The weighted sleeping sacks, doctors say, are no different. “Why would anyone put a weight on top of a child’s chest — particularly a newborn?” said Dr. Michael Goodstein, a neonatologist and member of the AAP’s task force on SIDS in an interview with NBC News. He said that adding weighted blankets to a newborn’s chest, could potentially compress their chest and since their rib cages are much more elastic and flexible at that age, it could affect their breathing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and ASTM International that they had long advised against weighted blankets, and urged them to implement “vigorous oversight” of the sleep sack. There is evidence that products such as weighted blankets pose “concerning reductions in oxygen saturation levels in infants,” the AAP said in its letter, adding that the commission and ASTM should address these concerns before any babies are harmed.

The AAP warned that if their concerns are not addressed, we could be facing a repeat of the SIDS-related deaths that have been linked to inclined sleepers, in-bed sleepers, and others. One such product was the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper which was recalled by the CPSC in 2019 after it was connected to about 100 infant deaths over 13 years.

The company was forced to recall all of its 4.7 million sleepers after 32 deaths were linked to the product. The commission said in January that investigations showed the lack of restraints in the sleeper caused the infants to die when they rolled from their backs onto their stomachs or sides.

It is unacceptable to wait until these deaths occur, the AAP said in its letter, adding that all infant deaths caused by sleep products could have been avoided if the product was taken off the market while awaiting confirmation that it was actually safe.

The AAP concluded: “Waiting for the emergence of confirmatory data about these concerns while these products proliferate is an unacceptable outcome when each of those data points will be a family whose lives are forever marked by unfathomable tragedy of their infant dying from a sleep-related death.”

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