- Experts are warning that infants should not sleep on infant rockers.
- Infants should sleep on a firm, flat surfaces — such as in a crib or bassinet.
- The surface should have a fitted sheet only. Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and padded crib bumpers should not be placed in the bed.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price have warned parents not to let their infants sleep in Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rockers and Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers after 13 babies died in the devices while sleeping.
Inclined products, like rockers, gliders, soothers, and swings, should never be used for infant sleep, according to the CPSC warning.
When a baby falls asleep in a rocker, they can slip or flip over and suffocate, research has shown.
The CPSC recently issued a rule that infant sleep products must have a sleep surface angle that’s 10 degrees or less. The guidance goes into effect June 23, 2022.
“These products were never meant to be a safe space for a baby to sleep. The safest place for a baby to sleep is alone, in a crib or bassinet that is not cluttered with items like blankets, toys, pillows, bumpers, on his/her back,” Dr. Kirsten Bechtel, professor of Pediatrics and of Emergency Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said.
Dr. Beth Oller, a family physician, based in Stockton, KS, says rockers with an incline of more than 10 degrees can potentially cause the infant to flex their trunk and lift their head, allowing them to roll onto their side or stomach.
This then increases their risk of muscle fatigue and suffocation.
Rockers should never be used for sleep or unsupervised, according to Dr. Gina Posner, board-certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA.
“The products are safe for the baby to sit in when awake and properly supervised,” Posner said.
If an infant falls asleep in a rocker or swing, they should be relocated to a safer sleep environment immediately.
Infants should sleep on firm, flat surfaces — such as in a crib or bassinet.
“If there is a question on whether the sleep surface is firm enough press your hand down and then lift it up, if it leaves an indentation, the surface is too soft,” says Oller.
The surface should have a fitted sheet only. Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and padded crib bumpers should not be placed in the bed.
Infants should always be put to sleep on their backs until they are one year of age, according to Oller.
Dr. Joelle McConlogue, Stanford Children’s Health pediatrician, says parents should have their baby sleep in the same room to them and near, but not in, their bed.
Parents should avoid co-sleeping with their children.
“Parents should avoid co-sleeping with their babies in their beds or falling asleep with the baby in their arms or on a couch as these situations can significantly increase the risk of suffocation and death,” McConlogue said.
Bechtel advises parents to remember the ABC’s of safe sleep habits for babies.
“ALONE on their BACK in a CRIB or bassinet,” Bechtel said.
After 13 infants died while sleeping in a rocker device, health officials and Fisher-Price have issued a warning on the use of rockers. Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface without blankets, pillows or stuffed animals.