Consumer Alert:
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 Commission.

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:

You can find other common sense advice on the Dr. Sears website.

If you use a crib, avoid these risk factors:

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.

Sweet dreams.

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