Products that Cause Infant Deaths Should Be Recalled
The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper has been tied to 32 sleep-related infant deaths, according to a statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urging Fisher-Price to recall the product. Fisher-Price issued a warning about Rock ‘n Play Sleepers on April 5, but they still line store aisles, are available for order on websites, and are holding sleeping infants in homes across the country.
While overall infant mortality rates in the U.S. have declined in recent years, sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation and strangulation, have risen. Removing products, like the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, that are tied to sleep-related infant deaths can help remove one risk factor for infants and make things easier for families.
“When you bring home your new baby, you’re trying to remember all the advice you were given—not just about safe sleep, but about how to feed your baby and keep your baby healthy,” says NICHQ Chief Health Officer Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA. “Having unsafe products on the market makes it harder for families who are already juggling so much, and a warning isn’t enough. Not when there is any potential of death.”
Reducing these dangers for families means holding infant sleep products to the highest standard, says NICHQ President and CEO, Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP. “Every year, we lose thousands of babies to preventable deaths, and that means we need to do more to help families understand and follow safe sleep practices—that includes protecting them from purchasing products that could cause harm. We should all be working to make things easier for families, not more confusing. As a national children’s health organization, we stand behind the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.”
NICHQ currently leads multiple initiatives seeking to reduce sleep-related infant deaths, including the Safe Sleep Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network and the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN). These initiatives both illustrate the critical importance of providing families with consistent messaging and education about safe sleep practices and products—whether by modeling safe sleep in hospitals or raising awareness about safe sleep practices through city-wide campaigns and targeted community outreach.
“As a leader in the effort to promote safe sleep as a national norm, NAPPSS-IIN members are speaking out in support of an immediate recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play and other inclined sleepers that do not meet the AAP standards for a safe sleep environment,” says Michael Goodstein, MD, a neonatologist and faculty expert for NAPPSS-IIN. “Before another infant can be harmed, we are urging the breastfeeding and safe sleep communities to spread the word about the danger of unsafe products.”
Eliminating Safe Sleep Fatalities Starts by Identifying What Causes Them
Understanding what causes infant deaths gives states and communities the information they need to identify focused, effective solutions. This makes infant mortality data—data that reveals the causes and contributors to death and system barriers—irreplaceable assets for any infant health improvement effort. And that makes the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention (National CFRP) an essential partner.
It’s Past Time to Prevent SIDS and Sleep-Related Infant Deaths
In the U.S., Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and other sleep-related causes claim approximately 3,600 babies every year. That number translates to nearly 165 unfilled kindergarten classrooms. Doing better by American families starts by identifying what’s working and outlining opportunities for improvement. Here, NICHQ Faculty Expert Michael Goodstein, MD, a neonatologist and international safe sleep expert, discusses what priorities should shape improvement efforts in the years to come.
Applying an Equity Lens to Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Efforts
Black families are twice as likely as white families to have their baby die in the first year of life. In some states, they are three times as likely. These statistics are more than numbers; they represent real families who suffer unimaginable loss—loss that stems from the persistent effects of systemic racism on the health of black families. Here, faculty experts on a national safe sleep and breastfeeding initiative share their recommendations for how health professionals and improvement initiatives can better support the health and well-being of black families.
Promising Practices for Eliminating Disparities in Sleep-Related Infant Deaths
While overall infant mortality rates have gone down during the past decade, black infant mortality rates increased from 2014 to 2015. To address these numbers, individuals, organizations and health departments across the country have designed innovative community programs, grassroots initiatives, state and national campaigns, and educational materials tailored to high-risk and underserved populations that experience barriers to safe sleep practices. Together, their work provides a vital roadmap for others seeking to drive community, state and national change.
Three Ways Hospitals Can Help Eliminate Sleep-Related Infant Deaths in their State
For the past two years, Tufts Floating Hospital for Children has been working to empower families to follow safe sleep guidelines so that more babies reach year one. Hospitals seeking to help more families adopt safe sleep practices can learn from and replicate the strategies they share.
Breastfeeding in 2019: Safe Sleep, Bias, Gender Equitable Norms, and Paid Leave
In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, we’ve taken time with NICHQ Faculty Expert, Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH, an internationally and nationally recognized expert on breastfeeding nutrition, education and policy, to recognize successes and learn about opportunities for improvement. Her frank description of bias and her passion for promoting gender-equitable social norms have inspired us to continue pursuing sustainable improvements.