Are Sleep Positioners Safe for Infants? – Everything You Need to Know

Are sleep positioners safe for infants? This is one question that will give you conflicting answers – even from medical experts, mothers, and experienced caregivers.

Some experts claim that the safest way for your baby to sleep is on a flat mattress without any form of wedge or positioner. Others argue that infants need support to keep them in position, pointing out that the negative press about sleep positioners is misplaced.

According to them, just because there have been Sudden Infant Deaths which many attributes to the sleep positioners used for the babies, the issues are not with the sleep positioners themselves, but in the way in which they were used.

Those who are not in favor of sleep positioners remain firm in their assertion that they are not safe for babies and are major cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome because they can suffocate the sleeping baby or prevent the baby from turning when they need to – especially when the positioners restrict them to an uncomfortable sleeping position.

When you weigh both arguments fairly, you will agree that they both hold valid points. I am very excited about this topic, so, let us get to it without further delay.


What is a Sleep Positioner?

An infant sleep positioner is a mattress with pillow-like support known as ‘bolsters’ that are attached to the sides of the mattress to keep infants in position when sleeping.

These sleep positioners are originally designed for infants between 0 and 6 months, who naturally do not need to engage in movements during their sleep. In various cases, some models of the sleep positioners have a pillow-like wedge that suspends the baby’s head from the rest of the body during sleep.

However, it is safe to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that mothers and caregivers should steer clear from using sleep positioners or pillows for infants due to suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


What is the Safest Sleeping Position and Arrangement for Babies?

If you are someone that seeks multiple opinions, you will be confused by the difference in opinions you will be faced with, when you pose this question to people.

The truth is that there are multiple sleeping positions and arrangements for a baby, but there is only one safe sleeping position and arrangement for a baby per time – as a result of his or her age.

A wrong sleeping position can increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and this is common in babies that are placed on their chest down or on their side to sleep when they are below 12 months of age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 1992 resolved that the safest sleeping position for a baby – during the day or at night, is on their backs. So, you should always make sure your baby is lying face up, especially if they are between the ages of 0-12 months.

Whether or not the baby is fond of rolling over on their stomach during sleep; always set them to sleep on their backs – except maybe after they are over 1 year old.


Tips for Putting Baby to Bed Safely

How you put your baby to bed matters a lot. It should involve all the care and attention you can possibly give because a lot goes on in a baby’s system when a baby is asleep – and something can go wrong if you are not careful!

There is no need to mince words, if a baby is not put to bed safely, you increase the chances of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID). Below, I have highlighted five tips you need to consider when putting your baby to bed safely.

5 Tips for Putting Baby to Bed Safely

1. Place a Sleeping Baby on Her Back: If the baby is between the ages of 0 – 12 months, they should never be made to sleep in any other position other than on their backs for any reason what so ever. You should never put the baby on her chest or side.

2. Ensure Nothing is Covering The Baby’s Face: When you are putting a baby to sleep, you must ensure that nothing is covering the baby’s face or hands. I understand that you may want to protect the baby from cold, but you must make sure the blanket is not placed over the baby’s face or hands – except the baby is swaddled. [Also Read: How to Swaddle Your Baby]

3. Always Chose the Right Mattress: You should always make sure that your baby is sleeping on a flat waterproof mattress. Also, you need to make sure that the bedding is not loose and all the sheets are properly and tightly tucked in.

4. Make Sure the Baby’s Cot is Empty: You should always place your baby in an empty cot without any toys or pillows. Apart from the risks of suffocation, this will also reduce the chances of chocking as the baby can wake up at any time without your knowledge.

5. Do Not Keep a Sleeping Baby Far Away: One of the tips of putting a baby to bed safely is to put them to bed near you. Pediatric experts’ advice that until a baby is over six months of age, they should sleep in the same room with you so that they can be adequately monitored.


Conclusion On – Are Sleep Positioners Safe for Infants?

As a matter of fact, this is one of the few topics in which I did not offer my opinion as a direct answer to the question. Rather, I decided to first educate you on sleep positioners, the safest sleeping positions and arrangements for a sleeping baby, and the tips you need to consider when putting your baby to sleep. [Also Read: How to Dream Feed Your Sleeping Baby]

Now that I have carefully highlighted these points and addressed your concerns, I will offer my opinion on whether sleep positioners are safe for infants.

Sleep positioners have been withdrawn from some popular outlets but they remain in sale across many parts of the world, so it is important we make a personal decision on them. In my opinion, I believe it is best to avoid them altogether, what do you think?