According to a message from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA "has never cleared or approved a baby product to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS." Furthermore, the FDA states, "the Agency is not aware of any scientific studies showing that a medical device can prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS."
Yikes! So what does the FDA want us to show caution when buying? Examples of common baby products that may be labeled with unproven claims to prevent or reduce SIDS risk include: baby breathing and movement monitors; mattresses and mattress covers; crib tents; pillows; crib bedding, including bumpers and blankets; and last but not least, infant sleep positioners.
In fact, when it comes to this last item, the FDA says it is aware of at least 13 infant deaths over the past 13 years linked directly to use of infant sleep positioners. The FDA's key concern is that sleep positioners can cause babies to suffocate if they manage to roll onto their stomachs.
"These products are absolutely not necessary and they can be very dangerous," Susan Cummins, chief pediatric medical officer in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, says (via the Toronto Globe and Mail).
Baby Sleep Safety
We get the message: these products don't work to reduce risk for SIDS. So just what does? Research shows that the best way to reduce SIDS risk doesn't require a special shopping trip. According to SIDS experts, babies should sleep alone, in their own sleeping space, with no other people in the crib or bassinet. Sleep surfaces should be firm without any loose bedding and babies should be placed on their backs to sleep. Parents should also take steps keep cribs and bassinets free of pillows, blankets, bumpers, sleep positioners, toys, and other objects at bedtime and during naps.
Simple and cost-saving. We like that preventing the tragedy of SIDS may boil down to basic things every parent can manage.