The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper is ubiquitous on baby registries and social media parenting forums.
Countless parents and mommy blogs rave about it and other products with a cult following, such as Dock-a-Tot and SnuggleMe, as their saving grace for baby sleep. There’s a picture of a sleeping baby on the box. It helped your friend’s baby. It’s sold in stores, so it has to be safe, right? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding NO.
Just because a product is sold is stores, does NOT mean that it is safe for your baby.
Take aftermarket car seat products, for example. While they may pass certain materials standards for flammability, etc, they are not tested by the car seat manufacturers to verify their safety. Aftermarket strap covers have been known to cause babies to be ejected from vehicles.
Sold does not mean safe.
Sold does not mean safe.
Sold. Does. Not. Mean. Safe.
The car seat safety community unanimously agrees that these types of products are unsafe, but there is often a huge cognitive dissonance that occurs when the same principles are applied to infant sleep products. Instead, calls to action to keep babies safe are labeled as “mom/parent shaming.”
Nobody likes to be told that what they are doing is unsafe, especially upon learning that other babies have died or been injured doing the same thing. It’s hard to hear that those loose straps or inclined sleeping device could have cost your baby their life.
It’s normal to feel twinges of guilt or even shame, particularly when met with even the most loving correction. It happened to me when my first baby was 6 months old and someone finally told me about the danger of my loose car seat straps. I brushed it off when confronted because I felt so much guilt, but that guilt and shame I felt, although nobody placed it on me, led me to immediately change my behavior.
In light of both past and recent deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a call for the CPSC to immediately recall the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is the leading authority and highest body of evidence available when it comes to safe infant sleep. In 2016 they issued updated Guidelines for Safe Infant Sleep. The full text of the guidelines can be found here, but the message boils down to something as simple as ABCs: Alone, Back, Crib.
Alone: Babies should be placed in their own sleep environment, free of blankets, toys, and loose items. The only exception to this is a pacifier, which is known to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Back: Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs. Once your baby can roll over on their own, it is safe to leave them there.
Crib: Babies should sleep on a FIRM, FLAT surface such as a crib, bassinet, or playard. Adult beds are not recommended for children under age 2.
The only three terms that are federally regulated and pass all of the ATSM standards for safe infant sleep are crib, bassinet, and playard.
There are many, many products on the market today that claim to help your baby sleep better, and companies prey on the fears of exhausted parents with clever, deceptive marketing terms.
If the product manual doesn’t call it a crib, bassinet, or playard, then it is not safe for your baby to sleep in. If your baby falls asleep in a swing, bouncer, or other inclined device, move them to a safe sleep location right away.
If your baby falls asleep in a properly installed car seat or travel system while you are away from home, move them to their safe space as soon as you arrive back home.
Doulas of Memphis takes safe sleep seriously, and we follow the highest safety standards available when working with our clients.
When clients trust us with their precious babies, we don’t take that trust lightly. It is our policy to follow the AAP Guidelines for Safe Sleep whenever we are caring for clients’ babies. You can read more about our Practice Standards here.
If you are outside of the Memphis area and are looking for a postpartum doula or other caregiver for your baby, make sure to ask what their policy is surrounding safe sleep.
New and veteran parents alike are inundated with misleading information every day. It can be hard to know what’s safe and what isn’t when it comes to infant sleep.
In addition to referring clients to resources provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, we have created this handy reference guide for parents and caregivers to download and print for personal use.
Making sure your baby is sleeping safely isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. Safe sleep is possible!
In addition to relying on your support system, the biggest part of making sure you are practicing safe sleep for every sleep is to make a commitment. Educate the people around you, and make sure that anyone caring for your baby knows how to follow the ABCs.
If you have been practicing unsafe sleep with your baby, it’s never too late to start putting your baby to sleep in a safe environment. While the short term may bring a few rough nights of sleep, you will never regret taking steps to keeping your baby safe.