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About the Baby Pillow and Playing it Safe


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Many baby pillows with various types of design and decoration are available at stores and craft shows. These lovely creations are tempting for new parents or someone shopping for a unique baby gift to purchase. But is a baby pillow safe for your baby? If you receive a baby pillow as a gift or purchase one for your child, there are some chilling facts you must know before you place the pillow in the crib with your baby.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the leading cause of death in the United States for infants one month to one year of age. In the early 90s, based on reports out of Europe and Australia, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a recommendation that babies not be placed on their tummies for sleep. As a result of the recommendation from the AAP, the Back To Sleep initiative was started in 1994 through the leadership of several national agencies.

Following this, various studies and surveys were conducted to evaluate the relevance of this change on the occurrence of SIDS. These studies showed the rate of SIDS decreased by 50%, but other related factors were also discovered. In 2005, an AAP task force released a new statement, which included several recommendations. Foremost, babies must be laid to sleep on the back only, not on the side. Included in the recommendations was a clearly defined list of items to place in the crib: a firm mattress, a fitted sheet, and the baby. If a bumper pad is used it must not be a loose, fluffy type. There should be no baby pillow, stuffed toys, the crib with the infant. In response to increased incidence of flat head syndrome, alternate methods of prevention were advised. The AAP felt the use of alternate positioning or a baby pillow were not worth risking SIDS.

There is a baby pillow on the market, called Baby Sleep Positioner, which includes the recommendations for SIDS prevention in its advertising. The baby pillow sleep positioner is made of memory foam and keeps the infant in the recommended position, while cushioning the back of the head. The AAP is careful to state it does not endorse any products for use in the crib other than those it lists. Prior to using the baby pillow sleep positioner, parents should first seek the advice of their Pediatrician to be safe.

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