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Color Their World - Safe! Articles on child health and safety, from Nanny's Place

Blankets, Bedding and Crib Toys
Soft Isn’t Always Safe!

Soft Bedding

Soft bedding may be a major contributor to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), past studies have shown that as many as one-third of the babies who die from SIDS each year may actually have suffocated after being placed on soft bedding. New information shows that babies are also at increased risk for SIDS if they get their heads covered by soft bedding while they sleep, for babies have been found dead with their heads covered by the bedding even while they were sleeping on their backs.

For more information about the causes of SIDS, please read Help Protect Your Baby from SIDS!

Because of this danger, CPSC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) issued these recommendations in April 1999:

If your baby is less than one year old, you should put her to sleep on her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress. Be sure to remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft products, for there should be no soft bedding of any kind in the crib, either under or on top of your child.

They suggest using a sleeper or other clothing designed for sleeping in, rather than a blanket or other covering. If you do use a blanket, choose a thin one. Place your baby so his feet can reach the foot of the crib (feet to foot), then tuck the blanket or sheet around the crib mattress only as far as your baby’s chest. Make sure his head stays uncovered while he’s sleeping. And don’t put your baby to sleep on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow or other soft surface.

In March 2000, seven major retailers joined CPSC in a safety campaign promoting these safe bedding practices. These retailers are making changes to crib displays in stores, catalogs, ads and web sites and will no longer show cribs made up with pillows, quilts and comforters, as that gave parents the impression that this was a safe way to put their infants to bed.

CPSC has also worked with manufacturers to get warning labels on infant pillows, and is working for a similar warning on baby quilts and comforters.

In 1992, CPSC banned a specific type of infant cushion that had been involved in 36 suffocations. Almost all of the reported incidents involved children lying on their stomachs. In all but two of the cases, the baby was less than four months old. Previously existing products of this type had been recalled, but the new action came from a concern that other manufacturers might start to produce similar products.

If you buy an infant cushion second hand, or if you have an old one at home, there are five essential features to look for. The dangerous cushions:
•have soft fabric coverings
•are loosely fitted with a granular material such as plastic foam beads or pellets
•are easily flattened to create a nest so that the infant lies prone on them
•are capable of conforming to the face or body of an infant
•are intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age

The most dangerous characteristic is the ability of the cushions to conform to your baby’s face or body.

If you have a cushion like this, destroy it!

Crib Toys

As your baby grows and becomes more active, she can become entangled in her crib gym or other bright toy that stretches across or is attached to her crib. She could also fall across the toy and become asphyxiated. CPSC says that five-month-old infants can pull themselves up to a hanging crib toy and become entangled or fall forward over it, possibly strangling.

Remove these toys when your baby is five months old or able to push up on hands and knees. Crib toys should have a warning label that tells you to do so. CPSC recommends that if you are using a crib kicker that does not have such a warning statement, you should remove the toy from the crib or playpen immediately and get rid of it. Any unlabeled crib kickers that have been stored for future use should also be thrown away.

Three other important safety points:
•Make sure crib gums are securely attached at both ends so they can’t be pulled down.
•Mobiles and other toys that hang on a string should be kept out of your baby’s reach.
•Don’t use toys with protrusions that could catch on your child’s clothes.

You can read about two specific crib toys in releases from CPSC:
June 1989: Strangulation Risk Prompts Warning About Crib Kickers
July 1988: Potential Strangulation Hazard Prompts Recall of Chicco Crib Toy

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Last updated Sun, Jun 4, 2006

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