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Nursing pillows aren't safe for sleep

Oct. 20, 2020—The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning that pillow-like infant products, including nursing pillows and lounging pads, are not safe for babies to sleep on.

The CPSC has received reports of deaths potentially linked with these pillow products. Deaths appear to occur when babies are left on or near these pillows and they roll over, roll off or fall asleep on them.

The CPSC is not warning against any specific brand right now but is instead looking at all the products in general.

Safe, sweet slumber

To keep babies safe while sleeping, the CPSC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend following these guidelines:

Put babies on their backs. Babies less than 1 year old should always sleep on their backs. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is much more likely to occur in babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides.

Choose a firm sleep surface. Use a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that meets CPSC safety standards and a firm mattress that fits tightly in its space, covered by a fitted sheet.

Bare is best. There should be no blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed toys or other soft objects in the bed with the baby. If you're concerned your baby might get cold, dress them in layers—but only one more than you'd wear to be comfortable.

Share a room, not a bed. If you can, keep your baby's sleep area in the room where you sleep for the first year of baby's life. Room sharing can lower the risk of SIDS by 50%, according to the AAP. It's also much safer than bed sharing. It's OK to bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort them, but don't sleep with them in your bed.

Know the no-nos. Don't let babies sleep on nursing pillows or other pillow-like items. Don't use infant car seats, bouncers or other inclined products for sleep either. And never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa or armchair.

Want to do more?

You can help save lives by reporting any unsafe products or incidents to the CPSC's database.

Then browse 10 more tips for crib safety.

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