On May 16th, 2021, the current administration signed a new law into act called the Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021. This law outlines the production and sale of inclined sleepers and crib bumpers which have been associated with approximately 200 infant deaths in recent decades.
Sleep is one of the hardest thing that parents have to deal with during the newborn period. Parents begin to get almost desperate for anything that can help their babies sleep longer. Inclined sleepers prop babies up at an angle instead of lying flat. Crib bumpers provide cushioning from the hard crib bars. Both have been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
This new law only impacts the manufacture and sale of new bumpers and incliners but does not have any impact on the use of these items. This means that populations that may rely on hand-me-down products are still at risk from the issues caused by these products.
This is problematic as lower socioeconomic and certain racial/ethnic groups like American Indian/Alaska Native and non-hispanic Black infants are more likely to die from sudden unexpected infant death syndrome (SUIDS) than non-Hispanic white infants. SUIDS account from unexpected infant-death cases including SIDS, accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed, as well as unknown causes.
Why this law is so important
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that babies sleep flat on their backs with no cushions, pillows, blankets, etc. surrounding them for years. However inclined sleepers and crib bumpers continued to be for sale which was confusing for parents who tried to follow their pediatrician's recommendations while also seeing these seemingly great items on sale.
The Safe Sleep for Babies Act follows a new infant sleep rule from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that establishes a federal safety standard for baby-sleep products that becomes effective as early as June 23, 2022. But this still fails to address products already in use.
Second-hand products, towels, and anything make-shift or homemade items that could be used as an incline for babies while their sleeping could also be included in future legislation to make parents aware and responsible for providing safe sleeping spaces for their children.
What is SIDS?
SIDS, also known as sudden infant death syndrome, among seemingly healthy babies during the first year of life when another cause of death isn't found. It normally occurs during sleep.
The most important times are 2-4 months of age, but the overall risk is extended up to the first year of life.
Common risk factors for SIDS include:
- Premature or low birth weight babies
- Soft surfaces or soft bedding
- Stomach sleeping
- Overheating during sleep
- Co-sleep in the bed with parent s
- Breathe second-hand smoke
There are also some factors that decreased the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding is an activity that can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS. Parents are encouraged to follow Safe to Sleep practice while more research is being done.
Safe Sleep Recommendations for Babies
The safest way for babies to sleep is by themselves in a crib or bassinet. Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep on a firm, flat mattress with a fitted sheet ONLY. There should be no soft objects,blankets, comforters, etc. This also applies to sleeping parents.
Even though it can be tempting to just place the baby in the same bed, the amount of blankets and the presence of two grown bodies increases the risk for accidental suffocation.
Babies may look sad just sleeping by themselves without any "comforting items" but they may not have adequate breath control or strength to overcome any blockage incase one of those item covers their mouth or nose.
This law will ensure that future products follow these guidelines and reduce the number of sleep-related infant deaths. If you have any questions about your baby's sleep, then please speak to your pediatrician, nurse, sleep coach, etc. You can also take this free online sleep test by clicking the orange button below and get in contact with one of our sleep health professionals at our facility.