The dangers of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
If you watch the news or read the paper at all, you have probably been bombarded with news lately about the
dangers of co-sleeping, or sleeping with an infant in your bed. If you're like me, you tend to believe the things
reported on the news and especially believe agencies as official as the Consumer Product Safety
There has been a major media campaign lately to "educate" parents on the dangers of letting babies sleep in
adult beds. It has been reported that an average of 60 babies die in adult beds each year, and that for babies'
safety, they should be put to sleep in cribs.
There's more to the story.
Want to know who's co-sponsoring this huge, noble media blitz? The Juvenile Products Manufacturers
Association (JPMA). Want to guess what they do for a living? They make cribs.
It has been fairly well known for years that co-sleeping seems to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome (SIDS) but strangely, nobody has done any studies on this. Could it be because there are no
companies who'd profit from the findings? While the deaths of 60 infants a year is horrible, SIDS claims 2,600
infants a year.
According to the Danny Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates for crib safety, 54 children die
each year from crib injuries (this does not count SIDS). In addition, over 10,000 children are injured in cribs
each year seriously enough to require hospital treatment.
Wouldn't it make more sense to educate parents on how to safely sleep with their babies? Shouldn't we find
out how to keep babies safe in cribs or beds, since there are dangers in both?
So here's the facts. Of the babies who sleep in adult beds, these circumstances put them at higher risk:
- Sleeping with a parent under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even legal drugs) which can affect how soundly the parent sleeps.
- Getting trapped between the mattress and wall.
- Smothering in waterbeds, comforters or other overly soft surfaces.
- Sleeping with an adult other than the mother. Fathers seem to develop a sensitivity to the babies' presense but it may not be as acute at first. Put the baby between the mother and the wall.
You can find other common sense advice on the Dr. Sears website.
If you use a crib, avoid these risk factors:
- The use of comforters, pillows, stuffed animals and other soft bedding that can smother an infant.
- Older cribs that may not meet safety standards.
- Loose fitting sheets that can come off and strangle baby.
- Corner posts that are higher than rails can catch baby's clothing and cause strangulation.
- Crib gyms and mobiles if baby is old enough to push himself up on his hands and knees.
- Be wary about using hotel cribs. Spot checks in 2000 revealed that 80% of hotel cribs and play yards were unsafe.
For more information on crib safety and other dangers, go to the Danny Foundation.
Every decision we make as parents seems to have such consequences. Whether the issue is vaccinations,
co-sleeping, breast feeding or discipline, knowledge is power. In many cases, what the public is told is only a
part of the story-- and a part controlled by those who have a vested interest in what we do.
The decision to sleep with your kids is a personal one. Do what feels right for yourself and your babies. And
no matter what your choice, follow common sense safety precautions.
For a direct link to this page, use http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/cosleep.htm
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