Five products not to buy for your baby

Consumer Reports News: April 22, 2009 03:34 PM

New parents are quick to jump on any product they think will make life more comfortable for their baby—and easier for themselves. But some items present safety risks we don't believe are worth taking. Here are five that we think you should skip:

Bedside and other co-sleeping devices
Although sleeping with a baby in an adult bed is a common practice among some cultures, it can be dangerous. The new bassinet-like devices designed to go in between parents or alongside an adult bed don’t necessarily make co-sleeping with a baby safer. One popular Simplicity bedside sleeper/bassinet was recalled after two babies died from strangling or suffocating when they slipped through an opening in the frame.

Currently, safety standards don’t exist for either co-sleepers or bedside sleepers. Until they do, we think the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib.

Baby bath seats
Each year, an average of 10 babies drown while using baby bath seats. Nearly all of those deaths occurred when a parent or caregiver left the baby unattended momentarily. The problem is that these seats, intended to make it easier to hold the baby in the bathtub, can give parents a false sense of security. It’s better to use an infant bathtub for bathing and never, even for a second, leave the baby beyond arm’s reach.

Sleep positioners
These devices are intended to keep infants on their back in a secure sleeping position. But the youngest infants, for whom these are designed, are not able to roll over from their backs on their own, which makes this product unnecessary. The soft foam in the sleep positioners can pose a suffocation hazard and our medical experts don’t recommend them. 

SlingCarrier Crib bumper pads
Designed to prevent bumps and bruises, crib bumpers can create their own hazards. One study found 27 cases of infant death involving bumper pads or similarly padded bassinets. Most of the deaths occurred when the infant became wedged between the bumper and another object or when the infant’s face was against the bumper.

And since bumper pads cannot be safety secured to cribs with solid end panels and should not be used with toddlers who can stand, we think it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Sling carriers
Over the past five years, at least four babies died and there have been many reports of serious injury associated with the use of sling-type carriers. The incidents include skull fractures, head injuries, contusions and abrasions. Most occurred when the child fell out of the sling. As slings grow in popularity, so do the number of serious injuries. No safety standards exist for slings. We think you should skip the sling and opt for other types of infant carriers, which have safer track records. (Image note: The CPSC recalled 100,000 Infantino slings in 2007.)


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