Weighted sleep sacks and swaddles removed from shelves at Amazon and Target

An infant snoozes without being wrapped in dangerous sleep sacks - ConsumerAffairs

Here’s what a group of pediatricians and parents recommend instead

After a year of being on the offensive over the safety of weighted sleep sacks and swaddles and their potential for suffocation, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is finally getting somewhere.

Major retailers including Amazon, Babylist, and Target have stopped selling these items altogether and the AAP suggests any parent who owns one should stop using it. So does the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“This is a strong first step, and infants deserve more,” said AAP President Dr. Benjamin D. Hoffman. “Exhausted parents shouldn’t have to become part-time product safety regulators, but our current system forces them to by allowing infant products onto the market without evidence they are safe. We need a proactive approach that keeps infants safe and gives parents the peace of mind they deserve.”

'But, baby girl sleeps so much better when we use a sleep sack' 

Why the concern? Every year, more than 3,000 infants die from sleep-related causes, and every nuance can increase that number. In this case, it’s simply a matter of a lack of evidence that proves these weighted pajamas are safe or effective.

You could argue that weighted blankets work for adults and older children, but an infant needs to be able to move freely and roll over from time to time and the weight of these items could hinder that and possibly increase the risk of suffocation or overheating. The AAP fears these products could lead to tragedies similar to those associated with inclined sleepers.

What should parents do, instead

If the AAP had its preference, infants should always sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface without bumpers or loose bedding, and it recommends that parents avoid soft bedding and overheating, as well as sharing a room without sharing a bed. Nonetheless, there are parents who believe that swaddling is safe

Melissa Bykofsky, from WhatToExpect, decided to take the issue further and ask pediatricians what their customers should do instead. Those physicians told her that they should rethink how they treat a baby’s sleep, using the AAP’s guidelines. Those include recommendations that babies only sleep flat on their back on a hard, flat surface with no loose blankets, stuffed animals or bumpers.

“There are many safe swaddles and sleep sacks on the market. Both should be made of lightweight fabric and be appropriate TOG (thermal overall grade) for the temperature in the room,” Bykofsky told ConsumerAffairs. 

She recommends considering a swaddle that is made out of a simple receiving blanket or one that includes velcro to hold it closed. 

What to Expect asked its community members and also partnered with a group of pediatricians to help compile a safe list of swaddles that they felt were safe. Those include the SwaddleMe ORiginal Swaddle Blanket and also the Halo SleepSack Wearable Blanket because its 100% cotton fabric keeps babies comfortable, and it has an inverted zipper for easy diaper changes. 

Did you buy a sleepsack or swaddle at Target, Amazon, or another retailer?

If you bought your weighted pajamas at Amazon, you should’ve already been contacted by the retailer alerting you to the dangers and how to return the items. If you bought it elsewhere, you should contact the retailer and see if they are offering a return. 

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