If the power of marketing has ever been questioned, simply refer to the marketing of sleep positioners.
I know you have seen the pictures while scrolling on social media; perfectly curated photos of a baby sleeping in a Dock-a-tot or Snuggle Me Organic. It makes it seem as if maybe, just maybe, your baby would sleep better if you had one too!
What you don’t know is that those sleep positioners are NOT designed for sleep. In fact, both the Dock-a-tot and Snuggle Me Organic websites clearly state that their sleep positioners are not designed for actual sleep. Additionally, they state their sleep positioners should never be placed in a crib for sleep.
So, what is the big deal? And what exactly makes these products so dangerous for sleep?
These types of products pose a risk of entrapment and suffocation for your little one. Meaning, there is a significant chance they could roll out of the sleep positioner while sleeping. By doing so, they can then suffocate or become entrapped.
Each year, approximately 4,000 infants die unexpectedly during sleep time from accidental suffocation, SIDS, or unknown causes. Included in those deaths are infants who are suffocated due to sleep positioners.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under the age of 12 months be placed Alone, on the Back and in their Crib for all periods of sleep. Additionally, they recommend parents continue to room-share with their child for the first six months of life, ideally for the first year.
In addition to being unsafe, sleep positioners also pose a problem when used as a sleep crutch. Parents who use them for sleep, despite safety warnings, eventually find themselves having to transition their little out of the sleep positioner. However, children often struggle with this in the same way they struggle to ditch any other sleep crutch.
Sleep crutches can develop when children become dependent on anything other than themselves for sleep. For example, they may become dependent on the need to be walked, rocked, held or fed to sleep. Meaning, they don’t know how to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep initially, or back to sleep if they wake up.
So, the next time you are scrolling through social media and see beautiful pictures featuring unsafe sleep practices - just keep scrolling!