Weighted blankets, sleep sacks for babies aren’t safe, pediatricians warn

One infant death associated with weighted product, CPSC says

SAN ANTONIO – Weighted blankets may be a hot trend for adults, but the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents that weighted blankets and weighted sleepwear like swaddles and sleep sacks are not safe.

“One of the risks is suffocation. Babies can get trapped under the weight of the blanket and not be able to breathe or get enough air,” said Dr. Wanda Abreu with Columbia Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

The weighted baby products are marketed as a way to calm babies, get them to sleep faster, and stay asleep longer.

But, Abreu warns that because a baby’s body is inherently different from an adult’s, putting any weight on a baby’s chest is problematic.

“The weight on their chest, ribcage and abdomen can limit the ability for them to move the muscles required for breathing and this can lead to asphyxiation,” Abreu said.

Two main manufacturers of weighted sleep products for babies, Nested Bean and Dreamland Baby, both said the lack of reported injuries related to their increasingly popular products shows that they are safe.

But, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has said that there is at least one infant death involving a weighted product.

“Parents will be even more trusting of products they see for sale if they have a label that says ‘this meets industry standards,’ maybe not realizing that those standards are largely written by the companies that are making and selling those products,” said Consumer Reports’ Lauren Kirchner.

That leaves new parents like Linda Ramirez, looking for anything to help their babies sleep in the dark.

“It’s so scary that they’re marketed as safe when doctors are against it,” Ramirez said.

Doctors recommend babies be put to bed alone on their back and on a firm, flat surface with nothing around them.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.