Experts have been warning parents not to let babies sleep in rockers, cushions, car seats or any other product that holds an infant at an incline. The baby sleeping like that tend to have their head higher than their feet.
Studies have shown that babies made to sleep at an incline will suffer injuries and impair their movements. Their oxygen levels also decreased, which is a dangerous situation. Researchers have found that none of the inclined sleepers were safe for the babies. Babies should be made to sleep on their back on firm bedding and not surrounded by pillows/thick blankets.
How Babies Move
Studies were conducted on how babies move and use their muscles in inclined products. Infants from 2 – 6 months were chosen for the study.
Each infant was placed in a product for 60 sec at a time for safety.
The results showed some that it was easier for the babies to roll from their backs to their stomach in the test products. The study team found that lying on an incline activates the baby’s stomach muscles and makes it easier for them to lift their heads and turn over, even if they have never done it.
What is the danger?
Once the baby flips over, the angle of the sleeper and the soft material that most of the products are made of can make it tough for them to get out of that position. Babies who wind up on their stomachs struggle and get extremely tired. They even lie face down and get suffocated.
There are reports of thousands of such incidents and deaths from USA where all these took place within a short span of 10-15 years. The parents added that they have never noticed their baby roll-over but found them dead lying in one of these products.
When babies burrow their faces into a soft surface, they end up continuously breathing the carbon dioxide they exhale, eventually leading to suffocation and death.
Sleeping in car seat
In countries like the USA certain regulatory agencies have issued strict instructions on using inclined products for babies. Parents should not use inclined sleep products with a seat back that rises more than 10 degrees. Parents also should take care not to let babies sleep in car seats, bouncers, pillow or a seat that holds them at an angle.
Parents tend to put a crib mattress at an incline to help with reflux. Though previously some doctors recommended that since babies tend to choke due to reflux. But recent studies show this does not help and may be unsafe.
Blankets & Pillows
In addition to inclined surfaces it is equally dangerous if babies sleep in blankets soft sheets and pillows. They tend to pull it over their face and are unable to breathe freely.
The safest way for a baby to sleep is on their back, in a bare crib and on a flat firm surface.