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  1. ITV Report

Amazon continue to sell baby positioners despite 12 deaths in US

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Retailer Amazon will continue to sell sleep positioners for babies despite warnings they can suffocate infants.

A number of companies, including John Lewis and Tesco, will no longer stock the products following claims from US authorities that the positioners are unsafe.

The death of 12 babies in America have been linked to using the product, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), caused by the babies rolling from their side to their front, resulting in suffocation.

Baby positioners' purpose is to keep a child in one position, on their back, while they sleep, and are marketed as being suitable for use up to the age of six months.

Amazon say they won't comment on the matter.

This is an example of a baby positioner. Credit: Amazon

John Lewis says it will no longer sell the Cocoonababy Sleep Positioner.

It still has a range of "nests" and "pods" for sale including the Cocoonababy nest and the Sleepyhead.

John Lewis told said on Twitter these products are not considered sleep positioners and are therefore still on sale.

A statement from John Lewis said: "We have one baby sleep positioner and as a precautionary measure we are removing it from sale."

Tesco have also stopped retailing the positioners, a spokesman for the company said: "We have removed these products from our website as a precautionary measure."

The product aims to keep a baby in one position while it sleeps. Credit: JoJo Maman Bebe

Several of the products were still available on eBay but a spokeswoman said it was planning to remove them.

She said: "Following recent recommendations by US authorities, items of this nature will now be prohibited from being sold on our platform.

"Our team will be informing sellers and removing any listings that contravene our policies."

Mothercare has also removed some products from sale.

The FDA said its safety advice was to "never use infant sleep positioners. Using this type of product to hold an infant on his or her side or back is dangerous".

"The federal government has received reports about babies who have died from suffocation associated with their sleep positioners," it said.

"In most of these cases, the babies suffocated after rolling from their sides to their stomachs.

"In addition to reports about deaths, the federal government also has received reports about babies who were placed on their backs or sides in positioners - but were later found in other, dangerous positions within or next to these products."

Tesco have removed positioners as a precaution. Credit: PA

A statement from the Lullaby Trust baby charity said: "There are hundreds of baby sleep products on the market and parents assume that if something is for sale it is safe to use.

"We do not recommend wedges and sleep positioners as evidence shows that the safest way for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat mattress, in a clear cot free of pillows, toys, bumpers and sleep positioners.

"Babies are at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome if they have their heads covered and some items added to a cot may increase the risk of head-covering and can also increase the risk of accidents.

"We recommend that, while evidence on individual products is not widely available, parents do not take any chances and stick to scientifically proven safer sleep guidelines."

A spokeswoman for Boots said: "At Boots UK, the quality and safety of the products we sell is of the utmost importance to us.

"We are removing the sale of all sleep positioner products whilst we investigate further with our suppliers."

Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Credit: PA

To reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the NHS recommends that infants sleep on their backs and on a firm, empty surface.

What is SIDS/cot death?

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – sometimes known as 'cot death' – is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.
  • SIDS usually occurs when a baby is asleep, although it can occasionally happen while they're awake.
  • The exact cause of SIDS is unknown, but it's thought to be down to a combination of factors.

How to reduce the risks (according to the NHS website):

DO:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep.
  • Place your baby in the "feet to foot" position (with their feet touching the end of the cot, Moses basket, or pram).
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.
  • Let your baby sleep in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months.
  • Use a mattress that's firm, flat, waterproof and in good condition.
  • Breastfeed your baby (if you can).

DON'T:

  • Smoke during pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby (both before and after birth).
  • Sleep on a bed, sofa or armchair with your baby.
  • Share a bed with your baby if you or your partner smoke or take drugs, or if you've been drinking alcohol.
  • Let your baby get too hot or too cold. A room temperature of 16-20C, with light bedding or a lightweight baby sleeping bag, will provide a comfortable sleeping environment for your baby.