>sleep gear not to use

7:42 AM

>ConsumerReports.org - Cribs, sleep gear not to use 4/07
Heirloom cribs. According to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, approximately 50 babies each year suffocate or strangle after becoming trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe designs. The JPMA advises consumers to buy a new crib rather than use an heirloom or a secondhand one, even if your budget is tight--or the crib has been in your family for three generations. Old or heirloom cribs can also have lead-based paint.

Co-sleepers. These beds allow infants to sleep near their parents for bonding and nursing. The Bedside Co-Sleeper by Arm's Reach Concepts, $200, for example, attaches to an adult bed with belts, giving a mom easy access to her infant. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn't established safety standards for these products, so the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend them. In general, the AAP advises against co-sleeping and bed-sharing. If you bring your baby into your bed for nursing, return him to his own bed when he's done.

Sleep positioners. These wedge-shaped pieces of foam are designed to help babies sleep on their backs. Pediatricians and child safety experts caution against putting anything cushioned in a crib because soft materials could close off the child's air passages, causing suffocation. Don't believe store displays for these products. They give the wrong message. The AAP says that while various devices have been developed to maintain sleep position or to reduce the risk of rebreathing (inhaling exhaled carbon dioxide rather than fresh air, which increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), such devices are not recommended because none has been tested sufficiently to show efficacy or safety.

Soft bedding. The safest crib is one that has a firm mattress, a snug-fitting mattress pad, and a fitted crib sheet--and nothing else; no puffy bumper guards, no stuffed animals, no pillows, no quilts. Experts have long recognized the suffocation risk inherent in such soft crib bedding. If you insist on a blanket, keep it at waist height, and tuck the ends firmly under the sides and bottom of the mattress. There should be no loose blankets in your baby's sleep area. If that sounds tough to manage (babies have been known to kick off their blanket), dress your baby in a footed sleeper, with layers underneath, such as a lighter-weight sleeper for warmth, or put your baby to sleep in a wearable blanket, such as the Halo SleepSack, $29.95 (www.halosleep.com), or the Kiddopotamus BeddieBye sleep blanket, $15 to $20 (www.kiddopotamus.com). If you decide to use crib bumpers, they should be thin, firm, and securely tied. Mesh bumpers are a very good option.

Not many people pay much attention to Consumer Reports, but they really do know their stuff and test products thoroughly... so when they say "don't buy", it's usually a good idea to heed their warning. And because of that it's one of the first places I like to look when I'm concerned about the quality of something I'm buying.

There were a few things on this list that confirmed funny suspicions I had but couldn't explain - like my desire to buy a new crib as opposed to using a used one. Then there were a few more things that surprised me, such as sleep positioners - something I had on my list and *thought* was a good idea - and crib bedding, especially after having been advised by quite a few people to make sure the crib had a good thick bumper.

Anyways, I thought this would be a good article to put out there for others to take notice of, since I'm sure I'm not the only one that didn't know about these.

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