Chances are, if you're a new mom or an expecting mom, you've heard all about the recent recall of the Rock n' Play infant sleeper. 5 million units have been recalled by Fisher Price after 30...Yes, 3-0 infants in the US and Canada died while using the device during the last 10 years.
When my oldest son was born, we used our swing every. single. day. I've already told you all about how hard I struggled with his sleep, how exhausted I was and how desperately I needed him to get some good consolidated sleep. I'd like to say that I always used it properly and made sure that not only was he using the correct restraints that were placed in the proper locations, but I can't truthfully say that. I was so exhausted, he may have taken the occasional nap unrestrained and thank the Lord nothing bad happened.
A lot of times, when I'm working with young babies, Mom or Dad will tell me how much they rely on their baby swing. How baby only naps or sleeps well in it and they are often quite reluctant to give it up. I get it. Believe me! Why would you want to give up something that is working so well for you?
Well, here is why: despite parents best efforts to keep their babies safe something bad can happen as a result of improper use.
The Rock n' Play by Fisher Price was voluntarily recalled by the company after the CPSC discovered that infants that were not properly restrained could roll to their back or their side while in the swing.
But they use "breathable" fabric, I can hear you saying. Well, let's talk about that.
The fabric used on these devices is technically, breathable. But what is happening in the case of the Rock n' Play is that these babies are rebreathing. They are breathing in the carbon dioxide that they just breathed out. They are recycling their own breathed out air. The unfortunate 30 deaths could also be from the way the baby's chin rested on their little chest. This is also why we don't want babies sleeping in their carseats for prolonged periods.
So, now it's time to talk about one more thing...the Dock-A-Tot.
Please, don't light your torches or haul out your pitchforks just yet, hear me out.
I know that people that use the Dock-A-Tot or a similar sleep positioning device while co-sleeping and you truly believe you're doing the right thing. You put the positioner in your bed so your baby is "in their own sleep space". The baby feels cozy and soon they drift off in their little nest until...he turns his head or his body to the side. Maybe he breaths comfortably there for a while. The air in that little space by his face is breathed in, and out. Oxygen goes in, carbon dioxide goes out. Slowly, there is more exhaled carbon dioxide in that little space than there is oxygen. What most parents (and even medical professionals) don't realize is that CARBON DIOXIDE REBREATHING is something researchers believe contributes heavily to sudden infant death.
Health Canada does NOT recommend the use of sleep positioners, and now you can likely see why.
Co-sleeping parents are likely going to come for me on this one. And I get it, not once have I ever met a parent that likes being told what to do or how to parent. I promise my soap box is built entirely upon my desire to keep your baby alive. Using positioners or swings are not safe for infant sleep.
Just like why we don't want them on their stomachs.
Why we don't want them in bed with you.
Why we don't want them on your soft mattress, around your soft blankets, or nestled into your sleep shirt.
They rebreath air if anything is close to or blocking their airway.
This is why I don't want you to put your baby in these sleep positioners.
Not even in their own crib.
Actually, the FDA in the United States has been encouraging the manufacturers to stop making them and for parents to stop using them since 2010.
I want you to know I truly do get it! I've been there and I know how desperate you can feel to get some sleep or a break from having to rock or hold your baby to sleep. I'm not here to judge you or disregard your struggle from day-to-day as you try to survive this crazy thing called parenthood.
If you're using one of these devices and are looking for a simple, easy to follow plan that will get your baby sleeping safely in their own space, let's talk!