New parents are quick to jump on any product they think will make life more comfortable for their baby—and easier for themselves. But some items present safety risks we don't believe are worth taking. Here are five that we think you should skip:
Bedside and other co-sleeping devices
Although sleeping with a baby in an adult bed is a common practice among some cultures, it can be dangerous. The new bassinet-like devices designed to go in between parents or alongside an adult bed don’t necessarily make co-sleeping with a baby safer. One popular Simplicity bedside sleeper/bassinet was recalled after two babies died from strangling or suffocating when they slipped through an opening in the frame.
Currently, safety standards don’t exist for either co-sleepers or bedside sleepers. Until they do, we think the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib.
Baby bath seats
Each year, an average of 10 babies drown while using baby bath seats. Nearly all of those deaths occurred when a parent or caregiver left the baby unattended momentarily. The problem is that these seats, intended to make it easier to hold the baby in the bathtub, can give parents a false sense of security. It’s better to use an infant bathtub for bathing and never, even for a second, leave the baby beyond arm’s reach.
These devices are intended to keep infants on their back in a secure sleeping position. But the youngest infants, for whom these are designed, are not able to roll over from their backs on their own, which makes this product unnecessary. The soft foam in the sleep positioners can pose a suffocation hazard and our medical experts don’t recommend them.
Crib bumper pads
Designed to prevent bumps and bruises, crib bumpers can create their own hazards. One study found 27 cases of infant death involving bumper pads or similarly padded bassinets. Most of the deaths occurred when the infant became wedged between the bumper and another object or when the infant’s face was against the bumper.
And since bumper pads cannot be safety secured to cribs with solid end panels and should not be used with toddlers who can stand, we think it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Over the past five years, at least four babies died and there have been many reports of serious injury associated with the use of sling-type carriers. The incidents include skull fractures, head injuries, contusions and abrasions. Most occurred when the child fell out of the sling. As slings grow in popularity, so do the number of serious injuries. No safety standards exist for slings. We think you should skip the sling and opt for other types of infant carriers, which have safer track records. (Image note: The CPSC recalled 100,000 Infantino slings in 2007.)
Avoid co-sleeping and slings..2 things that have been around for thousands of years. Slings are a wonderful way to aid in holding your baby, yes kids can fall out. Kids get injured in strollers as well.
Co sleepers, what this study fails to tell you is that the co sleeper in question was not being usedproperly. The bar you see in the picture is not to be in use when used as a co sleeper, it is only to be in place when it converts to a bassinet. Have you seen the crib recalls? what makes a crib safer? I researced cribs prior to buying one and a month later RECALLED.
It would be safer for baby if , like in the commercial we justplac them in an oxygenated bubble and not touch or hold or babies.
baby bath seats.. what is wrong with these? it looks like a parenting problem. Who leaves their infant alone in a tub of water even momentarily? There is nothing unsafe about the seat itself
with regards to your co-sleeper information. I really really don't think it is ethical to make a blanket statment about all co-sleepers being unsafe because there is no safety standards, just because of one really bad co-sleeper! I find it ironic that you talk about co-sleeper recalls and make a blanket statement about all co-sleepers being unsafe and should be skipped, but you don't make a word of mention of the thousands of crib recalls each and every year that babies have died in! Yes, Cribs have safety standards they have to meet, however it seems that many of them pass through these safety standards with flying colors only to be later recalled after a baby dies in one from it being faulty!
Also with slings I think that the article shouldn't say "skip the slings" but rather focus on the slings that are indeed dangerous, like the one you have pictured and advise parents to do their research on safe infant carriers and the proper ways to use them. There are many slings out there that are very safe when used correctly!
I agree with the earlier postings. I also understand how you make the "blanket" statements because if you refine the info and something goes tragically wrong with a model you did not mention, you are also failing your readers. As a mother of five all born in the middle of the previous century I can assure you that faulty as devices may be the child of today is better off than mine were bouncing around in the back seat of the car while I drove and yelled at them to "stop hitting your brother or I will turn this car around and we won't go to the beach" where I was one of the very few mothers to slather children with suntan lotion and also that bug spray with the bad ingredient. Who knew?
Oh no. This scares me, I have all these. I guess what I just have to do is never to think that my baby is safe with these things alone. I'd still watch her all the time.
I need to get a cold compress for this giant goose egg I have from BANGING MY HEAD AGAINST THIS BRICK WALL!
The two main parenting practices that have directly contributed to the continuing existence of our very own species are: co-sleeping and babywearing. Both are directly and, together, at the top of the list, factors responsible for the human parents' ability to protect their young, to keep them safe, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME! This article not only breaks my heart, it makes my brain hurt.
Yes "bag style" slings are a horrible design and we most certainly do need to focus on making the public aware of how to sleep safely with their babies and how to wear a sling correctly. This isn't because the practices are inherently dangerous, they are neither any longer a part of our collective social subconscious. We don't grow up seeing parents and family members sleeping safely with their babies or wearing their babies in cloth carriers correctly. I think it is fantastic that so many parent are finally pulling the wonderful tools of co-sleeping and babywearing out from the dusty depths of our parenting tool boxes.
These aren't just matters of convenience for parents, both practices have an enormous impact on how our babies brains are hardwired and both practices are biological and social norms for human social and physiological development.
How irresponsible for you to make such broad statements about co-sleeping and baby wearing! The safest place for my baby to sleep is right next to me in my bed, where I know exactly what's going on with her, wake up immediately when she cries and fix whatever the problem is.
Just like any product, there are safe and unsafe ones. For you to condemn babywearing with a sling because some types are dangerous isn't fair. Educate mothers about which types are dangerous and the correct way of using slings.
If only we had more reliable information out there for mothers to learn from.
My 19 month old has not once slept in her crib. My husband and I have never rolled over her, just as we have never rolled over each other or our cats. Co-sleeping has been a life saver! Co-sleeping has not only been beneficial to us, but also to our baby who is one of the most emotionally whole, and independent child I have ever seen. I can't imagine putting her in what most other people in other countries describe as a "cage". At night, we are all together as a family and it is beautiful. We can all snuggle! Co-sleeping is very good, especially for breastfeeding mothers.
I also am a proud owner of 5 slings. I have never dropped my baby! She loves the sling, still! I couldn't live without slings!
The two items that are the most important to me are co-sleepers/co-sleeping and slings!!! As a parent I couldn't function without those!
How many babies have died in car seats? Will you publish a report about that?
It is irresponsible to put out a report and scare people away from the emotional and health benefits of co-sleeping and baby wearing.
You have got to be joking.
The co-sleeping "devices", the bath seats and the slings are not at fault. There is nothing AT ALL wrong with those items. They can all be used fabulously and wonderfully if the adult is using them properly and, obviously, paying attention. Deaths and accidents that you've described above are all due to operator error. Period.
ps - I wholeheartedly agree with the sleep positioners and bumper pads!
I am saddened to read this list. How dare Consumer Reports undermine babies! Co-sleeping and sling-wearing (baby-wearing) are the fabric of our existance! Read the research from Dr. James McKenna of the Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab for information about the co-sleeping facts (through scientific method not through opinion as stated in this blog). Here is the link: http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/
Let's stop the scare-tactics in our society, the health and wellness of mothers, babies, and families depend on it!
Mom of 4 (breastfed, co-sleeping, babywearing)
B.S. Degree in Public Health
Doula & Lactation Counselor
Sleeping close to their baby and wearing their baby close during the day isn't a matter of making things easier for themselves for many mothers. It's part of what feels natural to do to keep their babies close to them. While there might be bad eggs as far as baby products go (and can't this be said for any type of baby product out there?), there are extremely safe and logical ways to cosleep and wear your baby. Let's not discourage new moms from doing what feels natural - convenient or not - because some products have been recalled.
Far more babies are injured in cribs than in slings, yet you do not recommend against their use. Furthermore, I would love to see the data that supports your assertion that "other types of infant carriers" (What types?) have safer track records than sling carriers, as I have seen contradictory information. More than 4 children (I believe it was more like 10?) suffered skull fractures from falling through leg openings of what I presume you are calling "other types of infant carriers" (i.e. traditional mass-market front packs). You are also likely well aware that the ASTM is in the process of evaluating sling carriers and updating infant carrier standards that apply to them. Still, the biggest risk in the use of any type of child carrier is not faulty design but user error, so perhaps your efforts would be better spent helping educate on their proper use.
Sadly, this article is full of misinformation. Please look here (The Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame) for information on mother-baby sleep and sleep safety: http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/.
There is plenty of worry about being a parent without inaccurate claims to inspire fear where none need exist.
Here, Here, Corrine! Well said!!
Like anything used with a child, following instructions and using caution and care are completely neccessary. Without this, anything bad can happen. When co-sleeping and babywearing are done correctly, both are beneficial to the baby and parent. No if ands or buts.
Anything that keeps babies closer to their mother - co-sleeping & slings for this example - is SAFER than what separates infants from their mothers. Crib-related-deaths do not occur in cultures where cribs are not used=fewer babies die. There is no place on earth where babies/children NEVER get hurt...it is true that they get hurt here in USA far more frequently than in many other places. We have to wake up to the fact that most new-fangled apparatuses are just not helpful or worth it, and abandon what is truly dangerous; physical, emotional, attentional DETACHMENT from our children. Children all over the globe thrive without plastic junk...while our babies are buried under it. I agree that parents need better education, incentive & more help understanding what actually causes children/people to thrive.
Avoid slings because they are dangerous? Well, how many babies have been hurt in the past five years while being carried? How many dropped? How many heads bumped into the wall? I think Consumer Reports should next direct parents to avoid carrying their babies at all. When born they should immediately be placed on the floor and should only get up from there when they are old enough to walk. Yes, sarcasm. But what a ridiculous article you have here.
Crazy talk!! I sling and co-sleep with both of children. It's the safest and most secure way to be with your child! I have been so happy to see more and more people carrying their children close to their hearts instead of swaddled deep in a pram. This article is wrong on so many levels!
I hate to say this because I trusted Consumer Reports for so long...but I just can't read a magazine who publishes such incorrect information. User error should not be a reason to tell someone not to buy a product. Co-Sleeping and baby wearing, huh?! - I guess someone should tell all those people in other countries who use these on a daily basis.
You know, I have pinched my fingers in my stroller numerous times - why aren't strollers on your bad list? My nephew knocked his front teeth out trying to stand in a stroller, but yet they are okay?
"Although sleeping with a baby in an adult bed is a common practice among some cultures, it can be dangerous" according to who? If it is so dangerous - why is SIDS also called "crib death"? Or are you referring to suffocation hazard? The statement is alarmist and unfounded and unclear.
I am so disappointed. This article is full of blanket statements. Since one bedside sleeper has been proven to be dangerous, you shouldn't use any. Since children have fallen out of slings you shouldn't put yours in one. Well, I have slipped and fallen on steps, should I stop walking? My child got a bump on her leg from running at the park, should she stop running or maybe I am at fault for taking her to the park where she is supposed to be able to run? You are CONSUMER REPORTS are you not? Tell us which products are the MOST dangerous, not how to parent our babies.
Irresponsible reporting. I wonder how many babies over the years have been killed or injured from falling out of strollers or bucket-style car seats that were improperly secured or improperly used. Let's try (I know, it's haaaaard!) to inject a teensy bit of common sense and personal accountability into our daily lives, hmmm?
As for sleep positioners and crib bumpers, you can eliminate their need entirely by cosleeping safely! Woohoo, problem solved!
I think the article is best taken as any other advice...good info but it's still just advice and you need to do what's best for your family and trust your instincts. If nothing else use this article to pinpoint things to watch for when you use the baby products mentioned(i.e. making sure you are using your sling correctly or that baby's face isn't near a crib bumper.) It's all just another part of parenting.
Get your information straight. SAFE co-sleeping and SAFE sling- wearing are as safe or safer than their alternatives. People drop children from their ARMS, too, so would you say that you don't recommend parents hold their children?
How about you review the toxic ingredients in baby hygiene products? That would make a much greater positive difference in the lives of children and parents than this drivel.
Totally agree with all the comments, co-sleeping and slings have been around forever. To report a problem with products that are problematic is fine, but to outright advise parents to avoid purchasing the items completely? Come on, if that was the case, we shouldn't be buying anything at all that has experienced recalls or caused injury to a child: cribs, bassinets, toys, strollers, bedding, carseats, high chairs, bathtubs, mobiles, playpens, clothing, formula, feeding utensils and the list can go on and on.
The thing is parent's need to exercise caution, common sense and be aware hazards, but the truth of the matter is accidents do and can happen anytime and with anything. But to write a biased article like this is just irreponsible.
Its important for parents to remember that THEY are responsible for the safety of their children. Not a device or product, not a government safety standard. This has been understood by mammalian parents for centuries and is still understood most of the world over. Except here in the US, where we "rely" on our government and consumer safety organizations to inform our instincts. This is absurd! Parent - and especially - mother natural instincts are right! Don't listen to the cautionary poison that subtly undermines your ability as a parent!
Sharing sleep and wearing your baby are natural, normal and safe for parents who are listening to their baby and their bodies just as they have been for centuries and centuries!
Bedside cosleepers? Poor substitute for actual cosleeping, which, as you say, is common is many cultures. Obviously not that dangerous if we, as a species, have survived it for thousands of generations.
Baby bath seat? Poor substitute for actual supervision of your child.
Sleep positioners? Again, a poor substitute for cosleeping and supervision of your child.
Crib bumpers? A poor substitute for mother's arms to keep baby safe and secure.
Slings? The one pictured is a poor substitute for traditional slings and carriers that have been used safely for thousands of years. Of course, the knowledge of how to make one was passed down with the knowledge of how to use one safely.
Baby products mantra is "better parenting through technology, design and consumerism". Oh what did we ever do before we had all these products to substitute for actual parenting? Oh wait, we were parents.
I am very disappointed to read such biased opinions on Consumer Reports. Is it not your job to rate safety on items, such as the cosleeper you speak of? Why not rate the simplicity model UNSAFE and the arm's reach (for instance) safe.. if it has had no similar instances. Same thing for the slings. Rate the styles of slings-so that mothers who are going to buy them ANYWAY have some knowledge of what to look for safety-wise. It seems as though you, as an organization, are not doing your job here. I am HIGHLY disappointed in that aspect of this.
And on a side note-I am, personally, SOOOOO sick and tired of things being recalled because a select few parents make bad parenting decisions. Like with the bath seats-if they were called away from the tub-even for a moment, then A) they shouldn't leave the child, make whatever else it is wait or B) take the child with them... having wet clothes is BETTER than a death or injury. Why should the products be taken off of the market and made unavailable to me because of someone else's poor decision? It is very frustrating to see consumer reports jump on this bandwagon, as well. I ask you to reconsider rating these items by brand-not generically.
im sorry, you are doing a GREAT disservice to parents everywhere by flat out saying not to buy these items. sure they can be dangrous, but every item comes with warnings about use, and always recommends parental supervision and care when having their child in them. cosleeping is safe, obviously you acknowledge that other countries do it a lot - and you know they dont have the incidents of SIDS that we do. isnt that strange? in a country where they cosleep, and carry their babies in slings, they have less SIDS and in our country parents are told not to use these things we have a high risk of SIDS? you are either deliberatly, or unknowingly causing the breakdown of early infant bonding. how rude!
every item made for infants, and everyone, should be used sensibly. always keep your hand on your baby when they are in a sling. always supervise your child in a bath seat. always remember to use caution with side sleepers, if they do not fit, do not use them. if your are under the effects of a drug or alcohol, dont cosleep THAT NIGHT. everything requires logical thought. but dont tell parents not to use it at all, because there are millions of cases where nothing bad has ever happened. dont magnify the cases of carelessness to overwhelm the cases of honest, safe, sensible and loving parenting!
I find it interesting that the article above does NOT mention the great hazards of crib sleeping, when another of your own sites reports that "Twelve cribs, a record number, were recalled [in 2008], involving eight injuries and five deaths." Were these 5 deaths because the cribe were used incorrectly as was the case in the cosleeper deaths? Were these crib deaths due to parental negligence or faulty products? As others have already pointed out, the photo shown here demonstrates why the bar shown is not to be used during cosleeping. It would be nice to have a balanced report of which brands/styles are safest for cosleepers and slings. As a regular reader and long time subscriber I know you can do better than this!
You said: One popular Simplicity bedside sleeper/bassinet was recalled after two babies died from strangling or suffocating when they slipped through an opening in the frame.
Yet on the top of the page of this article, it states: Toys 'R' Us to stop selling drop-side cribs.
The article states: A record number of cribs have been recalled over the past few years and five infant deaths have been associated with faulty cribs.
So let's just go ahead and tell parents not to buy cribs too because that's exactly what you did with everything else in this page.
Crib Bumpers: Of course we know they're a hazard... but have you thought about telling parents there is an alternative? Breathable crib bumpers that if installed correctly can get rid of this fear?
Slings: Seriously? The one picture is not only worthless, it's uncomfortable and of COURSE it was dangerous... it's not a good one to use and everyone in the community that "wears" their baby knows this and would NEVER buy one. Someone needs to educate the new moms and dads out there that see these in the stores that the best place to buy slings are from independent dealers that SPECIALIZE in these products - not just some company that makes everything else under the sun and tries to go with the latest trends. Let's go to Africa and see how many injuries they have with their homemade slings... I bet none.
So what is a parent supposed to do, put the baby in the bumbo? Oh yeah, what about those warnings... and how baby can fall in one of those? Cart them around in a stroller all day? Yeah, hardly practical or economical advice in my opinion.
Way to go Consumer Reports... I'm disgusted by these blanket statements. Excuse me while I go out now and say, "CR is reporting incorrect information. Don't buy their magazine, ever." How's that feel?
Rather than focus on the safety of specific products, the author of this blog makes blanket statements about practices. It is not the place of Consumer Reports to discourage parenting practices--only to rate the safety of products that are for sale. Consumer Reports is a great tool for making consumer choices--yes--but the public should not begin to look to CR for making personal decisions.
In addition, the entry was sorely lacking in complete facts. As stated in previous posts, crib deaths are not mentioned, nor are stroller deaths, swing deaths, etc. There is certainly something to be said for the inherent safety of a baby staying in close proximity to parents, rather than being removed from anyone who might be able to observe any signs of distress or unsafe behaviors. I personally feel much safer with my baby beside me instead of in a crib on a different floor of the house.
Please do hold manufacturers responsible for their unsafe products, but please do not make sweeping generalizations about your readers' parenting styles.
All of these products are thought of as unsafe because of PARENTAL ERROR, and parental error makes every baby product unsafe. I am disappointed that a website like this one that is supposed to be reliable has bought into this kind of ignorance -- blaming the product when it really has to do with how they are used.
Also, blanket generalizations are just not ethical -- there are so many different ways that people are co-sleeping and using slings, so many different circumstances under which people use these things, that, again, it's just plain ignorance to continue to propogate these beliefs.
For example, there are marked differences between breastfeeding, educated mother and child co-sleepers and formula-feeding circumstantial mother and child co-sleepers. In a study published in Mothering magazine this spring, done by the highest authority of sleep experts, educated, intentional, planned co-sleeping with breastfeeding mother and child pairs are actually safer than crib-sleepers.
PLEASE GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT -- we rely on you to have correct and reliable information, not just propoganda.
Baby wearing and co-sleeping were what made me a better parent and my children healthier. I don't see any mention of the flat, misshapen head and bald spot that comes along with a baby that is always left in a crib or car seat. My children, because I used safe practices when co-sleeping or using the sling were safe, cared for, nurtured and got to know the world around them from the safety of my arms and breast. This dismissive report is ridiculous and only gives part of the story in why these children got hurt or died.
I'm actually in agreement with "don't buy a co-sleeper." Just put the baby in your bed with you! I'm in agreement with "don't buy a crib bumper" because if you put the baby in your bed, you don't have a crib.
As for the slings and bath seats, the author of this blog is an idiot. What sane parent would ever, ever, for even a split second leave a child unattended in water?! The bath seat is great because it prevents from slipping in the bathtub and with appropriate supervision is very helpful to have. I wonder if the sling deaths are related to the sling that is pictured or if it's the only stock photo they could find. The one pictured is a heinous version of what a sling should be in terms of both comfort and safety. As a mother, I always instinctively still would put my hand to my baby when in the sling if I had to squat or bend in any way.
And which other infant carriers that have safer track records is the author referring to? Perhaps the bucket carriers that I've seen numerous parents put on top of wobbly restaurant tables just to see them topple over with the baby still inside them?
I'm sorry to say, but I think the large part of injuries and deaths may be more in part due to a parent's ineptitude than to the actual product in question.
Mother have been co-sleeping with their babies since time began, and science continues to confirm the benefits for the baby and mother: less SIDS, more breastfeeding, better rest for mom. Of course, fancy co-sleeper beds are not required ... common sense precautions make mom and dad's bed ideal.
There is a wide variety of slings for babywearing that are obviously safer designs than the photo you display. It is easy to find a quality sling and learn how to use it correctly.
All the people who either say ALL co-sleeping or babycarrying is good, or ALL co-sleeping or babycarrying is bad are both wrong. There are always accidents that happen no matter what people do. And there are also clumsy parents, neglectful parents and just plain awful parents who neither co-sleep or babycarry and still manage to get their kids killed in some other way, like not wearing a seatbelt. Does that mean no one should ever take their baby in a car because some people don't use it properly and it could cause an accident? There are risks in life but it is each parent's own responsibility to make an informed decision and to use any device the proper way.
actually, sling carrier incident rates have declined despite increasing popularity. this is a misinterpretation of data.
and please do not confuse a good quality sling made by an independent manufacturer with one such as the Sling Rider pictured. these are apples and oranges.
Are you kidding?? Co- sleeping predates the crib by just a LITTLE bit... and to say that its bad jsut becasue there are no gvt. standards ("Currently, safety standards don’t exist for either co-sleepers or bedside sleepers. Until they do, we think the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib.") for the co sleeping products is insane, since the gvt does such good job w/ everything, right?? Take a cute from the rest of the world and see whats worked for hundreds of years. You have got to be joking....
I am canceling my subscription to CR.
I personally believe that the safest place for your baby to sleep is right next to you IN YOUR BED. It's been done for centuries and when done right is beneficial to baby and mother. Co-sleeping allows mom and baby to synch their sleep rhythms. The result is better sleep for both of them. There are many other benefits to co-sleeping that are detailed here:
As for the slings: I would guess that "user error" causes those injuries to babies, not the sling itself. Practice putting your baby in and getting him/her out of the sling. Many slings come with instructions and/or instructional videos. Learn to use them correctly. There are many types of slings available today. Use one you understand. I think the statement to "skip the slings" is unfair and overgeneralized.
I don't agree with this article at all. These products are not dangerous in and of themselves, but the real hazard are parents not reading the instructions and using the products to the manufacturer's directions. The bath chair is a perfect example -- don't leave your baby in the bath, even for a second, without supervision. That's dangerous no matter what product you're using.
The only one I might agree with is the bassinet with the awful picture of the doll. Illustrative, but awful. It would probably be better to buy a bassinet with a smaller gap between the bed and the bar, or no gap at all. But, really, folks, this is one brand and one model -- it doesn't mean they're all dangerous! It's common sense.
To the author and editor: Do your research -- and don't assume just because you think it's dangerous that it is. Get the facts before you write.
I have to agree with he first poster who argues that slings (and cosleepers for that matter although we do not use those) are healthy for baby. There are some poorly designed slings evidently, but a baby close to his mother during the day in a sling is the healthiest place for him or her.
Having a baby sleep in bed with you is no more dangerous than a crib. In fact if you look at the numbers there are more infant deaths in cribs than there are in their parents beds. I also like how you mentioned that it common in other cultures. Maybe we are the ones that are messed up, not them. Just because the United States does something doesn't mean that it's right.
It sounds like many of these "safety" issues occur when the item is used improperly. Of course it wouldn't be safe when used wrong.
I think the claims that co-sleeping and slings - both extremely helpful items, are dangerous is ridiculous. In the two years since my daughter was born I have seen a minimum of 5 cribs recalled, as well as many more recommended baby items - some deemed safe.
Why not try to encourage attentiveness and common sense on the part of parents.
This is rediculous. I use the Arms Reach co sleeper and there is no way my child could get stuck. I also am an avid babywearer and would never put my child in the sling shown. I use rings slings and mae teis and my children have NEVER come close to falling out. This is the most unresearched report of infant safety I have ever seen!
I'm disappointed with this article CR - have you really thoroughly researched these issues?
I believe co-sleeping to be far safer than babies sleeping in cribs in their own rooms. See Jay Gordan's website for more information: http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/cosleeping.asp
Furthermore, babies are meant to be close to their parents - not stuck in bucket seats for hours at a time, where their heads are molded incorrectly. Babywearing is safe and effective provided that people are using slings that fit them well and closely. Mass produced "slings" that have "safety features" such as seat belts and fit the adult quite loosely are far from safe - traditional slings and wraps, however, have been safely used for thousands of years.
Keep your babies close - that is where the are safest.
When I saw the slant of this article, I thought, "Consumer Reports, uh-oh" because I generally trust their information as well-researched and accurate. But I was strangely relieved, in this case, to discover that the information in this blog post is way below par for Consumer Reports. One brand of co-sleeper examined? (And not a particularly popular one at that.) No mention of the infant positioners that sling manufacturers recommend for newborns? This post examines a very few *items* and then makes blanket judgements about *practices*. From a consumer standpoint, I'm very disappointed in the research that went into this. But as a childbirth educator and a proponent of attachment parenting, I find it amusing. Kind of makes you wonder what the real evidence says . . .
I'm surprised and disappointed to read that you included all slings in your list of items to "skip." I have safely used a variety of slings with all three of my children,and they have been wonderful.
Your "statistics" that suggest these items are unsafe are really misleading, since you don't list the number of children injured or killed when carried in arms or by stroller. Sadly, accidents happen. But to say that all slings are hazardous is unfair and downright uninformed.
You have got to be kidding me. Slings and co-sleepers have been approved by the consumer safety product commission for a reason. They are as safe as anything else. Babies need to be carried and to sleep by their parents; shame on you for discouraging parents.
Even water is toxic when consumed without caution. Babywearing is very safe, when done correctly. Babies need human contact and it is much more dangerous to carry your child in your arms while completing daily tasks because you end up holding them with only one hand which is not very secure--we all remember the pics showing how Britney Spears almost dropped her little one. Leaving a baby in a bucket-style carseat is damaging to mom (those things are VERY heavy to carry) and can lead to plagiocephaly (flat-head syndrome).
Ignorant, irresponsible reporting! Please, if you are reading this article to get information--keep looking! There is absolutely nothing wrong with co-sleeping or wearing your baby! There is only everything wrong with not doing them responsibly! There are tons of resources, so please keep looking! Don't make the same mistake so many AMERICANS have! Both of these practices (and others ridiculed or cautioned in the same manner, like breastfeeding) have been standard and nothing but successful all over the world. You just have to look further to avoid the ignorance!
Cosleeping and babywearing unsafe? Well, so is life. I'd bet a baby in a sling (used properly) is safer than one juggled in Mom's arms along with the diaper bag, cell phone, Starbucks, etc. As for cribs being safer, the entire front panel of my very expensive Pottery Barn crib FELL OFF a few months ago, luckily not while my child was in it. They didn't want to mail me the replacement part b/c the one year warranty was up. So apparently crib sleeping is only safe for up to one year, then you are on your own. Eventually they did send me a new crib when I threatened to report the problem.
Wow, you (Consumer Reports) just lost any remaining ounce of respect I had for you. What shoddy reporting! Did you do ANY research? Put a baby in a crib...where do you think SIDS came from? Babies were no longer within a parent's reach, and were not nudged awake when they stopped breathing.
This is a sad article, and I hope will not discourage folks from co-sleeping and baby-wearing! Both have been around since the beginning of time, and no one (except in the U.S.) thinks twice about doing it (and preventing SIDS and other issues).
This is totally accurate! My parents did co-sleeping and used that horrible torture device, the baby sling with me. Today I have an IQ of 10, I completely believe what I read - especially when the opinion is written by people who only look at a teensy few reports of injury (yet would probably recommend a standard, chemically numbed and then chemically educed hospital birth over one with a midwife or doula in the safety, comfort and peace of your own home..)
The damage my parents did to me by consciously and intelligently using these supportive, loving and nurturing options instead of putting me in a cage..I mean crib all by myself in another room and keeping me as separate from them as possible in a stroller are irreversible! In fact, I'm so screwed up from them that I'll probably do the same thing with MY children!! Somebody please chemically castrate me before I can harm another baby in such a horrible way!!!
I think the first item on your list should be FORMULA. Breastfeeding is the best thing that you can do for your baby. Co-sleeping and baby-wearing help with the breastfeeding relationship and help with babies development.
Consumer Reports should keep opinions to themselves and stick to evaluating, and comparing products - sounding the alarm when dangers are found. When dangerous strollers are found, they are recalled - parents aren't told to not use any kind of strollers. Giving parents the critical information on how the sling related injuries happened can help parents make choices to keep their babies safe.
The same advice can be given to parents about co-sleeping. Let them know how to make their sleeping arrangements safer, whether in adult beds, cribs, playpens or anywhere else. Recommendations for keeping babies in cribs comes for years of skewed and ignored research.
Science and official recommendations often lag far behind common sense -- just look at breastfeeding and midwifery care to name two much maligned choices, now in the forefront of improving infant and maternal health.
It's extreme and detrimental to tell parents to skip slings and cosleepers because a few are unsafe. How many kids die because they choke on toys or from sleeping in cribs or from contaminated formula? How many babies are injured when they are dropped from an adults arms on accident? Or when they ride in cars? I guess we should skip toys and cribs and nobody should be using baby formula, carrying their child or riding in cars.
A better idea would be to educate on what to watch out for in these products and indeed develop safety standards. Prevent injury while still encouraging the practices that are beneficial for baby and family.
co-sleeping is best for baby and mommy. when my daughter was born, i slept with her on my chest the first night and there were times when i couldn't hear her breathing at all!!! then i would take a deep breath and she would take a deep breath too. we did this all night. it never happened again but at 19 months we are still happily co-sleeping! as for slings, use common sense. babies are meant to be close to mommy. follow your heart and your baby and you both will be healthy and whole. good luck!
I am floored. I'm embarrassed that I was duped into believing Consumer Reports was a good place to go for information. Maybe for dishwashers, but not babies. Wow. Where to even begin? Several posters have said what I would, only better. Corrine said it quite well. Please, if you have a sling or co-sleeper, don't throw the baby out with the bath water, as they say. I LOVED my sling and co-sleeper, and I educated myself (for me it was via La Leche League) on proper use of both. Shame on you, Consumer Reports.
I'm very disappointed in consumer reports for this article, and will trust their other information less after reading this.
Cosleeping with babies has been shown to have profound health benefits and has been shown to be safe. Cribs, on the other hand, are surprisingly often unsafe (I signed up with CPSC email notification for recalls, and am shocked with how often infants die in cribs- by the list of fatalities reported to the CPSC- these seem to be the single least safe baby product type on the market.)
When parents who are not intoxicated sleep with their babies, they are tuned into their babies, and research has shown that babies are less likely to die of SIDS, possibly because newborns don't enter too deep of sleep states when they are next to their parents. There is a synching up of rhythmns that as a mother, from my own experience, feels natural and normal like this is how babies and parents are supposed to sleep.
My son grew so far above the norm and was so healthy, and I believe this was because he was able to nurse through the nights as an infant.
The article failed to mention the profound benefit of babywearing. It should have. Again, close contact with babies allows for an intimacy and depth of relationship that cannot be had otherwise. Babies need to be held close. 1000 things that we know and do not know, evolved over thousands upon thousands of years, benefits a baby when they are held close.
So report the facts. XXX # of deaths in the last 5 years were attributed to co-sleeping devices, and XXX # of deaths in the same time period were attributed to defective cribs.
The sling carrier pictured in this report? Very dangerous, in my opinion, it holds the baby in a poor position, keeps baby out of view, low on the parent's body, and is horribly uncomfortable and impossible to fit.
HOWEVER... there are so many excellent, safe and comfortable baby carriers out there.
I daresay most baby carriers are easier to use correctly than the vast majority of carseats, much less likely to cause injury even if something does go wrong, and the potential benefits of keeping a baby in a sling or mei tai style baby carrier far outweigh the benefits of, oh, say, your average bucket seat, anywhere BUT an automobile.
As with every single infant product out there, it is vital to learn to use the product correctly, and to understand basic safety concerns. Carriers such as the infantino Sling Rider, shown in the picture, are NOT safe-- preliminary airway studies by one researcher showed marked reductions in the ability of even healthy newborns to oxygenate correctly in this carrier... it is one product that is designed incorrectly and does not work well for most parents and babies. But simply because you've only laid hands on carriers with poor safety records does not mean that all carriers are unsafe.
I beg you to do a better job for parents than saying, "Don't use" one of the most valuable tools a parent can have in the first year of life... tell us what works better. Start with real ring slings... less structured and easier to use correctly. Then move on to China's gift to mothers, the Mei Tai. And last but not least, don't forget the newer structured soft back carriers.
Baby carriers keep children close to their parents... and that right there increases safety over many, many other "parenting tools".
How many babies died in carseats in the past year? But you do not say, "Don't drive."
How many children have had accidents in bouncers, swings, high chairs, playpens, baby seats and cribs? Far, far more. If you're going to criticize injury and death rates... you should offer some points of comparison to the alternatives most parents will use. Sitting around staring at our children, afraid to move lest we drop them or put them in something unsafe so that we can get something done... I don't see those as better options than a well made baby carrier. Every case of death I know about in a traditional carrier involved user error. Compare that to the more mainstream Bjorn and Infantion, where product design flaws have required multiple recalls... after multiple babies were hurt or died, wheras in most cases of ring sling recalls, the recall has happened before any serious injury happened at all, just to be safe.
Don't tar all baby carriers with the same brush. It's not fair to the manufacturers and it is even more unfair to parents.
Wow. I'm disappointed in Consumer Reports for its alarmist approach to the article's content. "5 Products Not to Buy for Your Baby" is such an unfair title. While I agree that there are some unsafe baby products out there (even natural family living products such as cosleepers and slings), it is sweepingly negative to say that readers should never buy these products for their babies. Why not point out the few products that were recalled, rather than make a blanket statement that all such products are unsafe?
I am a subscriber to Consumer Reports magazine and find most of what you say reliable, HOWEVER, this blanket condemnation of co-sleeping and slings is unconscionable! Mothers have carried their babies in sling like devices since the invention of clothing! Let's talk about unsafe strollers, how many deaths from these? How about (as another pointed out) deaths from cribs and playpens? Babies do not need to be sequestered away from their parents in cages and contraptions. They belong with parents who are in possession of all their facilities. There ARE safe slings out there - why don't you do a study on them instead of painting with a broad brush? There are safe, one-piece of material slings that are joined with materials that don't break that provide what babies need - comfort and security. Why don't you check out the relationship between feeding methods and SIDS? This is a more complicated picture than you are presenting here!
This article makes co-sleeping and baby slinging (not just the products) dangerous when in fact it is no more dangerous (and actually safer) than other "conventional" methods. For example, the article highlights that sadly two infants died because of the co-sleeper and so Consumer Reports recommends that infants sleep in cribs. Now here's the kicker, in 2008 these same folks (yep, Consumer Reports) mentioned in the link below how 43 children had died from cribs and play-yard equipment. Let me think about this one; co-sleepers=2, cribs=43. It is tragic that even 1 child died as a result of a product but for Consumer Reports to demonize co-sleeping and baby slinging is just inaccurate. Do some research parents. Oh, and you too Consumer Reports. -A baby slinging, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, home-schooling parent.
this is embarassing.... I had that bassinett when my youngest was small enough to fit in it. and hey I read the directions!! I knew how to use it. and the way its pictured there is not the correct way to use that product. if somone wants to use the product improperly then fine, but dont say the product is unsafe because of somone elses stupidity!. as for the baby wearing. it takes practice to use a sling, and some people never get it. but slings and other baby carriers have been around since the beginning of time. this is an age old practice. somthing that has been around for so long to aid parents cant be bad unless you use it improperly. like I said these blanket statements of things being unsafe is simply because of somones stupidity!
Practices at work for thousands of years are now dangerous because of a handful of idiots?
Great. Thanks Consumer Reports for fueling the flames of others having control over what I can do or do NOT do with or to my child.
CR has so much clout in the consumer market, they really should use more common sense when they want to start their fear mongering. I could understand thousands of deaths, or a true defect in the product, but using a product INCORRECTLY is not the fault of the producer but the USER.
You know, I'm sure there is a study out there that shows how many babies die from being dropped by their parents. Does that mean that we shouldn't hold our babies at all?
No, it means use common sense.
If these deaths were due to suffocation or posture in the carrier that cannot be avoided due to the design of the carrier, bathseat, crib, cosleeper etc, then I could see a legitimate concern.
Let's break down their claims:
Bassinet/CoSleeper: The bar shown in the photo shouldn't be seen or in place at all when using it as a co sleeper. It should be covered up in the fabric running around the product being used as a bassinet. Again, not the products fault 2 babies died due to parental stupidity.
Bathseat: I cannot even make a comment really, you walked away from your baby sitting in water? You need parenting classes.
Sleep Positioners: Can be used safely for MOST babies, if you kiddo is a wiggle worm, this product isn't for you. A startling amount of children can flip themselves over at a VERY young age, in as little as 3-4 wks old. Many are designed to only come to the armpit of the baby. Most babies I've met don't breathe out their armpits, rendering the suffocation point obsolete.
This one I actually agree with, they are unnecessary and reduce air flow in and around the crib. To reduce SIDS risks airflow is a MUST.
Sling Carriers: Saved my life. I loved tucking my little one into her little pouch. I even went so far as to go to a local sling clinic to get instruction on how to use it properly. MILLIONS of women and babies have used slings in their lifestyles for THOUSANDS of years. And yet again, the lack of common sense parents ruin it for many.
Sounds like these folks are most likely being paid to print this negative propoganda by the crib manufacturers and such.. In what way are cribs any way 'safer?' People have co-slept with their infants since the beginning of time. When it comes to parenting, our society needs a serious wake up call.
Evidently no one at consumer reports is an attachment parent. Slings have saved my life! Now granted the one in the picture does look pretty crappy, what they are not saying is how they can be a wonderful soother to a 6 week old who is finally realizing they are in this chaotic place for good - without putting them in those crazy velcro blanket/straight jacket things. Or the fact that my 19 mo. old is very secure in his self because of the 6 months he slept in our bed. Maybe next they will write an article about how it's not a good idea to make your own baby food or how breast feeding is bad for the baby. Thanks consumer reports, maybe you should stick to cars and electronics and leave the mothering to the mothers!
Co-sleeping can be dangerous? Uh, only when a parent is drunk, on drugs, a heavy smoker or extremely obese. What kind of irresponsible blanket statements are you issuing on your site? You have the authority and expertise to test PRODUCTS, not ways of life. You research your products so thoroughly so please apply those same standards when researching your facts about co-sleeping.
As for the slings, why don't you recommend that people get instruction on how to use them properly. How many injuries have occurred from the use of say, lawnmowers, or motorized saws. Do you refer to those injuries and tell people not to buy any of those products?
Please stay away from these irresponsible comments on baby care practices and stick to what you are good at.
As a nurse manager and child safety educator, I find some of the comments I've noted to be a little disturbing. I teach the Infant Safety and CPR class for our facility. I understand that statements regarding the safety of a device are pretty blanket. What you must consider though is the fact that it was based on the death of a child and in many cases several children. This may not seem significant in the broad scheme of things unless it was your child. Then suddenly, all whom you would know or come in contact with would be made aware of the dangers of the device. By who? You! Because the death of even one child, if it was preventable, is too many. Most safety recommendations come from the findings of state "death review boards" and should be taken seriously, because the next child to be affected could be your own.
Are you kidding me? Obviously, parents shouldn't rely on contraptions to replace their own vigilance. Slings and co-sleeping actually give parents a chance to be MORE attentive to their babies' needs than if we toss them in a bucket and put them in the corner, or another room. And if you think there should be standards for a category of products, just say so. Don't condemn the product category out-of-hand. Many more babies have died in cribs than in slings or co-sleepers, even as a percentage. How about cars? They're crazy dangerous. I think you should condemn those out-of-hand, too. Planes, shoes (many, many people have died while wearing shoes), roller skates, linoleum (which has been a factor in untold numbers of injuries, just search the CPSC database), peanuts . . . WARNING: Life is hazardous to your health. 100% chance of death. [By the way, there are currently standards being developed for slings, AT THE REQUEST of several sling manufacturers, and in cooperation with the CPSC.]
The fact that something has been done for "thousands of years" (and btw I'd like to see the data that backs up this claim) is not a legitimate justification for doing it now. Many practices that were done for thousands of years (for example not washing hands or opening windows in a sickroom) turned out to be not so smart upon further examination in the illuminating light of modern science. If you are going to dispute the article's findings, use facts. If co-sleeping and sling-using aren't as dangerous as the article states, I'd certainly be interested in hearing about it, but not with the simple justification, "oh it's been done for thousands of years..."
Just because something has been done for "thousands of years" and "since the beginning of time" does NOT make it safe and the best practice. People pulled teeth with pliers, performed surgery with dirty knives, used the bathroom in the woods, killed wild animals with spears for food for "thousands of years." Well I guess we should go back to doing things that way since those are the safest and best way to do things. Done for thousands of years!!!...just ignorant. Thank goodness that argument isn't a valid one or I'd be picking cotton in a field right now.
You girls need to read that again with your mind and not your emotion, because the article doesn't say what you seem to think it says.
See that picture at the top? It's a baby's head stuck in a sleeping device. The baby is falling out but the head is stuck. Babies actually died like that.
CR isn't talking about the philosophy of co-sleeping and babywearing. They're talking about devices made by industry that can kill babies.
While I appreciate that CR may be advocating for safety standards for these products, I feel that with these recommendations CR is, if you will excuse the phrase, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I lived in West Africa where women in several countries carried their babies and toddlers on their backs safely every day using a single piece of cloth wrapped around their bodies. How are they able to do this? Every woman learns from her peers and her elders from an early age how to wrap the baby so that the baby's body is fully supported and so s/he will not fall.
What I find noteworthy about this is that there is no way to engineer a safer piece of cloth. It's just a rectangle of cloth (albeit of a particular weight and weave), no seams, nothing. What makes it safe as a baby carrier is the knowledge that each woman attains until, by the time her own baby is born, she is expert at wrapping and carrying the baby.
I am certain that many if not all of the accidents with pouch carriers results from improper use. This is because baby wearing/carrying is not a long-held tradition and, therefore, not common knowledge in this country.
What would be best, in my opinion, would be if every woman that gives birth in the U.S. received education before her child is born (in childbirth classes) and after (at the hospital or birth center, or from her midwife or doula) about how to properly use baby carriers.
This should be as a matter of course, just as every woman should likewise have access to a lactation consultant.
(I would also argue that such instruction should include how to co-sleep or bed-share safely with a baby, a practice that is also common worldwide. Again, in the U.S., these practices are considered "dangerous" because there is a high rate of improper practice due to a lack of education and embedded knowledge about safety precautions.)
While I think certain products, like co-sleepers, should be subject to standards of safety, I think CR's recommendations go too far in discouraging certain products -- and therefore certain practices -- that can be very beneficial to babies and parents if used properly.
I am appalled at the generalities and exaggerations you have made. Like others pointed out, only certain MODELS are flawed, not the entire concept. My baby was born 9 weeks early and after 3 weeks in the NICU, neither of us could bear to be parted from each other, even in sleep. For 2 months he slept on my chest, then beside me in a nest made with my arms for 2 more months. He still, at 14 months, sleeps cuddled next to me, and with his father at times, too. We don't turn our back on him when asleep with us, and he is thriving! When we want alone time, our baby can sleep in his crib for a while, which is side-car'd to my bed so that it is level.
As an adult you don't roll over and smother any other bed partner, you don't fall out of bed or smother them or yourself with your pillow and blankets, because even in your sleep you have a spacial awareness. There are safety concerns if you do drugs that affect the mind, drink alcohol, etc., but if you educate yourself properly there is nothing wrong with choosing to co-sleep. The human race developed with this practice, as well as babywearing, which we also practice around here!
Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Unfortunately, we live in a society that is constantly looking for someone to blame for our own shortcomings. We constantly look for justification for our bad behavior (not just regarding this topic), and articles like these only serve to bolster the notion that personal responsibility is a thing of the past and "someone has to be at fault other than me."
Do we decide to jump a ravine like the Dukes of Hazzard or try out a roll maneuver like a stunt car driver just because we have our baby securely fastened in its carseat? Do we think how fun it would be to push a stroller down a hill with our baby securely buckled inside, just to see if it will remain upright and intact? What? Of course not! Who would do such a thing? We still instinctively do the safest things possible to protect our children, regardless of the product we're using at the time.
On the subject of co-sleeping and carrying: the animal kingdom (of which we are king) co-sleep and carry until their offspring are capable of caring for themselves. These are not new concepts, nor are they dangerous.
Bassinets, baby bath seats, slings, etc. aren't evil things. They are great products that have safety labels, warning and correct usage instructions written all over them. They are products used by the creators with their own children. These products are not to blame. The parents are to blame for not using them properly. It's a terrible tragedy when a child is injured or dies in a product meant to help and protect. But it does happen, not at the fault of the child, rarely at the fault of the product, but at the fault of the parent who didn't follow the safety instructions.
There are weak-minded parents out there who will read this article and instantly go throw out perfectly good products they've spent money on, in an effort to keep their child safe. If they're going to do that, they might as well throw out all clothing, all toys, all furniture, the car, the house, the neighbor's bully kid, all sports equipment, all cleaning products, all tools, all craft project tools, the stove, the TV, the kitchen sink, and themselves, because all of these things COULD pose a safety hazard if not used properly.
Let's pray that God will help us be the best parents we can be and take personal responsibility for the safety of our children.
it seems to me that the common thread in all of these "dangerous" products is a lack of education and care on the part of the parent. We shouldn't just research the safety aspects or the price of a product but research how to safely use it. We should also exercise common sense when using anything with our babies. And just the fact that I have to type that irritates me.
Sure you can point out the negatives of these few items... but how many babies have died in cribs? How many cribs have been recalled? It's not just co-sleepers. How many babies have been injured or died from falling from their parents arms or being left on the changing tables? Slings aren't a threat to babies safety... they are the original baby carrier... cultures all over the world have used some kind of sling/carrier for their babies for thousands of years. Bath seats aren't inherently dangerous - the parents who leave their children alone in them are the danger. I need more research than throwing out a few numbers with no comparisons to the alternatives.
On slings: Really? 4 babies in 5 years? That's terrible for the four families affected, but it's nowhere near statistically significant. At all. Like others have said; educate yourself and use your sling properly!
Wow! I've never seen so many comments after a CR article, and I'm glad that so many readers understand that common sense and knowing what's right for your child is more important than so-called "research." Its easy to advise against co-sleeping when you're in an office typing the words. Try it at 2 am when your baby won't stop crying. Even if you feel guilty the first few times you do it, after that you realize it is really quite natural and comfortable, and you're a much better parent when rested. I'll agree with CR about the crib bumpers, and I think sleep positioners are rarely warranted, but 1 1/2 out of 5 isn't the kind of record I expect from this organization.
Consumer Reports really missed it in this report. I was very reluctant to co-sleep, until one night after a 3am feeding -- where I sat up on our bed and nursed my daughter and then fell asleep while nursing her. I woke up three hours later and thank God she hadn't fallen off of the nursing pillow on my lap onto the floor -- a 4 foot drop.
The next day we learned how to co-sleep and sleep-nurse. It was so much safer and I was so much more rested. I was always conscious of my daughters position when she co-slept, her weight was better, my nursing experience improved AND I got more sleep. Co-sleeping is the natural way and it is better for everyone involved as long as common sense safety precautions are taken. Bottom line: Mothers need more rest and less judgement.
Slings take some skill to use, no doubt. So do strollers, Baby Bjorns and every other device. Once you know how to use a sling they are a wonderful way to keep your child close all the way until age 3.
Wow! What about the after-market carseat devices and bunting bags that are actually dangerous and sold everywhere? What about the dangers of having your baby in a infant car seat all the time, people leave babies in those for hours and the result is flat heads which have SERIOUS consequencse. Not to mention all the injuries from people putting them in grocery carts and having them tip and hurt babies, I'm pretty sure that number is higher than 4 in 5 years for slings!
I agree, skip the sleep positioners and bumper pads, sure. A sling is going to have way more benefits than most other things you get for your baby. Carrying your baby alone has benefits, plus freeing up your hands and spreading the weight better makes a sling a great idea. Since when do we need standards for pieces of material? Grab a sheet and use it as a wrap to carry your baby. Yes, some babies get hurt, dropping your baby is a good way to hurt them, dropping them out of a sling is like dropping them out of anything else.
Oh, and the bassinette shown above that was recalled isn't a co-sleeper at all. Wake-up and research the products. a co-sleeper is designed to butt-upto or attach to the side of the bed and has an open side. Anyone who would leave a baby with an open side with a bar across like shown above isn't being even remotely sensible.
Garbage articles like this propagate myths and discourage new parents from using their instincts when parenting. Common sense would take the baby seat from being 'dangerous' to fine. You don't leave a baby in water, why would you do it if they were sitting in a piece of plastic. I do agree though, don't waste your money and let your baby lay in the tub and splash in shallow water, they'll enjoy it more.
I sure hope no one reads this article and takes it to heart!
At least 100 babies died in the US in 2008 alone while being cared for by at least one parent. As such, we cannot recommend parents as safe for babies.
See, the logic just doesn't work, does it?
Wow. This is unbelievable. Some of the most common reasons babies are injured every year are from falling off of changing tables, cribs, bouncy seats and out of strollers, and you don't see CR recommending against these.
I am utterly disgusted. It is a tragedy when a child dies, no matter what the cause, but to issue a public warning against co-sleepers and slings??? We are one of the few countries who advocate AGAINST these things!
I don't even know what to say to this. CR, you are absolutely no longer a trustworthy source of product safety information!
I agree with some reviewers who said that some posters have blown this article way out of proportion. It's about some specific devices that are unsafe for your babies, not the practices in general.
That said, reading about how many other moms co-sleep with their babies has made me feel so much better about co-sleeping with mine. I've felt guilty ever since she was born three months ago, because every night I sleep with her right beside me. It's comforting to the both of us, not to mention practical (and thankfully my husband is understanding and sleeps in the guest room for now). I always felt that the hype about co-sleeping was blown way out of proportion, and I'm glad I'm not the only one!
Well, this article lacks much common sense or rationale. I can understand that certain items (such as this particular co-sleeper) represent serious safety concerns; however, I do not understand the claim that all co-sleeping (or sling-wearing for that matter) is therefore dangerous. If we follow this logic, then surely we ought to be paranoid about all activities we engage in as human beings. This is particularly ridiculous considering the amount of research regarding the benefits of co-sleeping and baby-wearing.
I think most mothers will say that most of these allegations are extreme exaggerations. I'm glad to read that most people realize it's how the parents are using the products and not the actual product itself.
As far as co-sleeping, I have for the most part kept my mouth shut about it because some people just do not understand. I am a breast feeding mother of two wonderful, healthy boys. I am also a single mother who has to work full time. I am able to feed my child as soon as he is hungry and we are both able to fall immediately back to sleep. Co-sleeping is not only natural, but a way for me and my son to bond since we have so few hours together.
Four babies in FIVE YEARS, so we should abandon a practice that improves the parenting experience, keeps strangers from putting their germy hands on baby, and allows for closer supervision of one's child? That is stupid, stupid, stupid. And how typical that you reference the absolute worst sling ever made. There are a plethora of things that have killed more babies over the past five years and are not on your little list. What about babies becoming deathly ill when their mothers water down their formula?
One might conclude that if they had been breastfed instead, they wouldn't have been at risk. Are you going to write an article saying that formula is dangerous and that ALL babies should be exclusively breastfed just to be on the safe side? These products don't kill babies (with the exception of specific brands/models which have been recalled). Lack of common sense and unwillingness to read and adhere to safety guidelines kill babies.
I am appalled that you would list slings as 'dangerous'. These products are not dangerous. More children die using cribs and walkers and improperly operated strollers. You list slings as dangerous when only 4 children died using them - you need to go back to your own research on crib deaths and compare the two. In fact, you should look into the injury rates of all other carriers before jumping to these conclusions.
I used slings with all my children and never had a single incident. I do know babies that were carried in their car seats into a restaurants and one of them got kicked over because an adult didn't see the car seat on the ground.
I thought your organization was more evidence-driven than this. I will cancel my subscription if I don't see more research in this area.
Poorly researched, poorly reasoned article. Very disappointing.
I've got to say, this makes me re-think my trust in consumer reports. i no longer value their opinions after reading this article. I would love to see the deaths in cribs and strollers, I bet they are much higher than co-sleepers/sleep positioners and slings.
These are very valuable parenting tools if used properly.
Everyone has already said it, I just wanted to say, "poor job, consumer reports!" Thanks to you, there will be more babies with "flat head" syndrome. Bonding is so important, it's a shame you're out there telling people it's dangerous. Let's keep our kids in cribs and carseats?!
As a subscriber to Consumer Reports, I am deeply troubled by your recommendations above to not buy several items that are essential to how I choose to care for my baby. Any product can endanger a baby when not used properly or with stupidity, such as the bath seat. A baby will drown in a sink without a bath seat if left unattended for even a second. I am rethinking my subscription to your recommendations, because if you are making this awful recommendation, how can I trust your others?
A few issues here:
Just because something has been done for thousands of years may not necessarily make it the BEST practice for everyone; however, if carrying your baby in a sling or co-sleeping were so inherently dangerous as is implied here, these practices would have long ago been stopped, because they would have killed so many babies, which would inhibit the population from growing.
CR IS talking about the philosophy of co-sleeping. They explicitly say "we think the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib. " This statement would preclude sleeping with your baby. This statement makes it sound as if the only two possible places for your baby to sleep is a crib or a co-sleeping device, which is not true. Not to mention that, as others have pointed out, plenty of babies have died in cribs, which the article doesn't seem to be concerned with in the slightest. Maybe we should just deny our children sleep altogether, since there is no sleeping arragement that is 100% safe?
And you are right that anyone here would be upset if one of these accidents happened to their child, but as I said, there is no product or even arrangement that is 100% safe. You can't ban every product that has ever caused an accident, because there would be no products.
And the reason so many think this article is opposed to attachment parenting philosophy and its practices is because they have presented a very biased view in this article and not discussed the dangers of alternatives to these products that people will use in their place, which many of us feel are MORE DANGEROUS than the products CR would have you not use.
I shouldn't buy a baby bath seat because 10 parents a year ignore the well-known and oft-repeated advice that a baby should never ever ever ever be left unattended in the bath?
I shouldn't buy a bedside sleeper because 2 parents improperly used a single brand of bedside sleeper, resulting in the death of their children?
I shouldn't buy a sling, of all things, because less than 1 baby per year falls out of a sling and dies?
Does this mean I shouldn't buy or use a carseat, because of the many parents who fail to properly install them?
boo! how about be wise, parents and act responsibly! We can't prevent injuries and deaths by limiting everything--no more stairs, and no rocks, those are bad! Let use wisdom and judgement, and honor parent's intuition and grieve when accidents happen. Your article is just a blame game on some very safe products.
Wow, I'm on my third co-sleeping, sling carrying, crib bumpering (baby is not always in the bed) child. Maybe consumer reports needs to do a parent intelligence test before some people decide to be parents. ANY product can be misused if you're irresponsible.... especially with a baby. I wonder what the statistics are on parents that had baby injuring "mishaps" not using ANY products. Should pacifiers be on the "no no" list in case a parent decides to duct tape it to the infant's mouth? The benefits outweigh the risks with these products for the majority of normal people.
Wow, who has consumer reports gotten into bed with? This is ridiculous. I hope people will use their common sense when evaluating this article.
According to the CPSC, high chairs are also equally dangerous. The CPSC states, "Each year, thousands of children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with high chairs. Deaths also occur." (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/202.html. The CPSC also warns against play pens, "Deaths have occurred when the drop-sides of mesh playpens and cribs were left in the down position."
The most important item for babies that you failed to list as dangerous is CRIBS. According to the CPSC, "More infants die every year in accidents involving cribs than with any other nursery product. Thousands of infants are injured seriously enough to require treatment in hospital emergency rooms." MORE children die from cribs than anything else? Where is your warning about crib use??
Perhaps instead of using scare tactics to offer bad advice your site might to do better to remind parents to use items properly, safely, and according to manufacturer guidelines. Anything can be dangerous and deadly when used improperly. As for me, I'll continue to use my co-sleeper and sling because I am able to use both safely.
I agree with most of the parents that have already commented. I think it is lack of education and common sense in most cases with the adult caregivers. But, it is also a problem with manufacturers. Take for instance the cradle the baby got caught in when it fell through the opening. If the item had been manufactured to some form of safety standard that would have never been possible. It's like when they started that safety thing with cribs where there shouldn't be more than a certain amount of space between the slats. I just think that it's wrong to tell people not to buy things that are useful and somewhat good for your baby because a small minority can't follow instructions.Anybody remember the Bumbo recall that happened because a few babies got out and fell from high objects (like the lady that videotaped her kid getting out of the bumbo and falling off a high table). If they had read the instructions and caution it said not to leave child unattended and to not put in high places. And you've got to wonder what that lady was after when instead of keeping her child from falling she kept videotaping. Just use common sense people.
This article would probably be much better served if it were something like "what should parents learn and learn to do well before becoming parents". Baby wearing and co sleeping should not be performed if the parent is not fully educated on the right way and wrong way. Same with bathing a baby. A baby should NEVER be left alone in the water, regarless of product used to hold baby there. What about giving baby a bottle made of BPA plastic ... that is proven to be hazardous! Not to mention the toxins in toys, dyes, foods, etc.
I agree with several comments regarding 4 deaths being statistically insignificant. The article should work harder at showing how many children are worn in slings and how few those 4 deaths really are. And compare that to other deaths related to other products. Then maybe they'd come up with truly dangerous products we should stay away from.
Wow, I'm usually a big fan of Consumer Reports, but this article is terrible. My favorite warning is not to buy a bath seat, because apparently it will give parents a false sense of security and therefore they will inevitably leave the room and let their baby drown. The reasoning throughout this article is simply horrible. The causal relationships are absent or flawed. The examples are not statistically significant. The article is an embarrassment. Shape up, Consumer Reports.
Wow, I typically think your organization offers a good service to consumers, but what a load of garbage this piece was. Let me see, I can have my baby in a sling under my watchful eyes, or I can leave him unattended in a crib or seating device. Which one is more risky? C'mon. Infantino isn't a particularly good brand of sling, but there are plenty of great baby carriers out there.
And there is a wealth of evidence showing the safety of cosleeping when done properly.
I've always put my faith in Consumer Reports until now. I'm so very disappointed in this article and it makes me question the rest of their advice. I very strongly disagree with their recommendation on cosleeping and babywearing. For cosleeping they sited the recall of Simplicity cosleepers but really Simplicity has had a number of recalls including cribs but yet they still recommend cribs! And I'm not even sure where to begin with babywearing. There are so many different styles (slings, pouches, mei tais, soft structured carriers, wraps etc) and so many different brands associated with each type that it doesn't make sense for them to throw out babywearing. It would be more productive for them to say to research the company and product you are purchasing but babywearing has been done for hundreds and hundreds of years in as many cultures around the world. I realize they are only condemning sling type carriers but to many that are new to babywearing that is all there is. I sincerely hope they issue a retraction or at least a clarification with some better research and recommendations after all that is what I expect from Consumer Reports.
Excuse me? Girls? Your implication that these mothers don't or can't think is unconscionable. That co-sleeping product shown in the photo is faulty, and says nothing about the safety of co-sleeping itself. Let's legislate for a real child product safety commission that actually tests and keeps consumers safe without allowing corporate lobbying. Now THERE'S an idea that will save babies' lives (along with safe co-sleeping and baby-wearing done responsibly). Arrrgh. When will people read more than Consumer Reports and Newsweek on these central issues?
OH MY!! What about disposable diapers, which are not very good for babies skin at all, and are filling our landfills with human fecal matter!? What about Baby bath products, 28 popular brands of which were found to contain formaldehyde and parabens and pthalates that are known carcinogens, and cause other illnesses!? What about ALL of the other silly, ridiculous main-stream, must-have contraptions out there that encourage parents to NOT interact with their babies!? Sling injuries? How about encouraging parents to be responsible thinkers, and take an active part in researching, learning, following God given instincts, and caring for their children - rather then being made into popular main-stream, trend following, morons who don't follow their own common sense! I think the author of this article needs to do some more research before posting an article this ridiculous!
Such a foolish posting--and regrettably parents will listen because they "trust" Consumer Reports. First, for those of us familiar with bedside co-sleepers this Simplicity one is an off-brand--perhaps a cheap immitation with sadly tragic results. The top co-sleepers like Arm's Reach (there are a few others) have been in business for years (well over a decade) with excellent safety record (no recalls from what I know). Many more babies die sleeping in cribs or worse, sleeping in another room (SIDS, etc) than with their nursing mothers. This encourages the sad-for-baby campaign that babies should sleep alone--far away from their mother. No baby should ever sleep alone. Furthermore, slings and baby carriers are wonderful. The Infantino with the faulty buckles was made by a famous maker of strollers and other baby gear but this company is NOT a company known in the baby carrier business at all -- just a big company wanting to join the band wagon to make some money. Are babies dying in Maya Wraps? Ergos? New Natives? Becos? No. The problem is, the big box mega stores do not carry the best baby carriers--and franlky the Bjorn, though safe, and carried by the bigger stores, has had recalls and is the most uncomfortable carrier known to mankind. What's the problem here then? Information...as the parents who had these tragedies happen didn't know to find the safest products with decades of safety behind them. Consumer Reports says just to write off all products of this type--period--instead it should be saying "do your homework, parents" not all products are made the same. If brand x clothes dryers burn up because of bad wiring would you advise all people to start drying laundry on the line (for this reason--not to be more eco-friendly)? NO. of course not. As another poster said, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Last thought to add: it's far better to carry your baby if you can. It's more comforting for baby, makes breastfeeding easier, keeps your hands-free (for your other kids or other tasks) and is a great way to connect with your baby--far better than shouting out to a child in a forward-facing stroller (though strollers have their place too). Common sense should reign here.
I am furious about this advice! I am a LONG time CU subscriber and generally value your advice highly. This, however, is ridiculous! I'm not going to repeat the comments about crib (non)safety etc. Just please know that
MY BABY IS SAFEST WITH ME!!!
She's safer in my bed than in a crib. She's safer in my sling than in a stroller.
SIDS: I know a mother whose baby had severe sleep apnea. Her baby would stop breathing all the time. She woke up. She woke him up and he started breathing again. This worked much better than the machine commonly used in this scenario.
My CO2 that I exhale helps the baby breathe and also helps her sleep.
I will not roll over on my baby! Please understand that mother's sleep is very light and the slightest thing will wake her.
I don't worry about a fire in my house. My baby is right next to me and I can get her out with me.
My daughter needs me right now. Dear CU, please look into the reasons mothers like me do what they do. Not only is the long-term emotional welfare of our precious children of utmost importance, but our babies really are safest with us!
I forgot to add to my previous comment:
We dont' co-sleep or carry our babies in slings out of convenience. We do this because attachment to the mother is the foundation of emotional well-being for our children for the rest of their lives. And it is indeed SAFER than all the "safe" contraptions in the world.
Michelle C.. so you advocate cribs as safe? In what world have you lived? It is difficult to find a crib on the market today that won't be recalled within a few months. I researched for months, and the crib I finally felt comfortable buying was recalled two weeks after I bought it! TWO WEEKS.
Consumer reports should be a place for parents to come to research companies and products by comparison, not a total product.
FORMULA was found to have rocket fuel in it.
MOST items made in CHINA are unsafe yet we continue to offer free trade with this country t the detriment of our children, and country,
Again, I have to disagree with this article as being useful, relevant, or accurate.
The fact is that consumer reports has been relied upon for info on cars, electronics, and several other consumer products. Their information is usually presented as results based on standards created and tested. These sorts of eye catching articles do exactly that, catch eyes. Used on the front of the magazine they would no doubt entice a shopper to purchase the magazine to find out what things you should not buy your baby.
But really, this article is not at all helpful in helping a consumer to research brands and types of baby products. It is a wide brush, a snippet, at best just a poorly written article.
This article is terrible!!! It discourages co-sleeping and baby wearing - two of the BEST things you can do for your baby! What a horrible DISservice you are doing, Consumer Reports! RESEARCH your articles before you publish them! Cosleeping is statistically safer than cribs! BOO!
Why was baby formula left off of your list? With the recalls of formula in the last year, wouldn't it warrant a place on your list? Both co sleeping and baby wearing are beneficial for breastfeeding, a practice recommended by the AAP in its 2008 statement.
I imagine mine won't be the last comment r/t this article. The advice presented here is unresearched, not evidenced based and simply unwarrented. This article is a smear on the reputation of Consumer Reports. Perhaps you should also recommend parents not transport their children in cars because they have not likely placed them in the carseat correctly? Research states that >70% of children are not properly restrained in motor vehicles. Actually, it might be easier if you simply not recommend ANY baby item. They can all cause harm when used incorrectly, i.e. strollers, changing tables, bouncy seats, infant bathtubs, etc.
"Consumer" reports? This ridiculous article clearly was NOT written by an actual "consumer", or likely even proofread by one. I can easily think of some other products I'd never use because of safety concerns, but I've used all 5 of these things safely and conscientiouosly for both my children.
The problem with products like these is "user error" which likely would account for most/all of the very few deaths/injuries that have occurred with the above mentioned.
Thanks Consumer Reports, now I don't feel like I can even trust you for valid product information any more. How, when there is so much evidence pointing toward the dangers of things like baby walking toys and tainted formula, can you choose these?!
we used a hot sling with both our children - and couldn't have survived without it. we used different types of carriers for different needs and different stages of growth - the moby, a baby bjorn and a kelty backpack. Each carrier fits differently to a person's body so i preferred the moby for example while my husband preferred the bjorn. we both like the sling for "short" carrying. With all carriers, it is up to the parents and common sense to figure out which one works the best for you, your child and the situation. for example, i tried a sling like the one pictured but didn't like it because there was too much fabric and i couldn't feel my baby as easily - i.e. to make sure he/she was snug.
I am very disappointed in this alarmist and misinformed article. The vast number of responses from mothers who know about safe co-sleeping and baby wearing, don't leave their children unattended while bathing or sleeping speaks for itself. Now, I do wonder where is your article that blanket condemms cribs, carseats as carriers, infant "formula" (read cow or soy solid with fish eyes, algae, added minerals, and rocket fuel), strollers, and any other modern contraptions which are not only unsafe for babies, but may lead to social problems in general?
This was BY FAR the worst article ever written by Consumer Reports. Did any thought go into this article what so ever?!
SHAME on you consumer reports!!
Shame on you for not checking your facts.
Shame on you for giving misleading, INCOMPLETE information to expectant mothers.
Shame on you for failing to mention all of the THOUSANDS of other products which pose REAL health, safety, and developmental threats to babies (cribs, formula, playpens, etc.)
Shame on you for making blanket statements and generalizing remarks on people's parenting styles.
SHAME ON YOU!
Expectant mothers: Do yourself a favor and ignore this article completely. Instead, why don't you do your OWN research. Read the facts for yourself and you can see all of the benefits to bed sharing, breast feeding, and baby-wearing.
I am another baby-wearing, co-sleeping mom. My babies were much safer and happier than they would have been left alone in another room or a stroller.
For the genius who doesn't believe slings have been used for "thousands of years":
As others have said before me...use products with common sense.
A safe alternative to the co-sleeper bassinet is two futons on the floor: a double one for the adults and a single one for the baby/child.
Snuglis seem safer than slings. It's harder for a baby to fall out. But they can still hit their heads if the wearer accidentally bangs into something. However, babies can hit their heads if you are carrying them too.
I cannot even begin to express my disappointment in CR. Over the past few years I have found their articles and reviews to be inappropriately biased or under researched, but this one takes the cake. I am done with CR and will be passing on the word- I suspect they did little to no research for this article.
More babies have been killed by buckets than all of the above products combined (babies are top heavy and don't have the upper body strength to push them selves out of a bucket full of water). Not to say that safety warnings aren't warranted, but let's keep it in context.
The vast majority of deaths and injuries are due to incorrect use or lack of supervision. Read your owners manuals, use common sense and don't expect ANY product to replace your own supervision of your child, ever.
I am not impressed with this article, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks, whoever created this article did not do their research. Another reason I won't be renewing my subscription.
Wow, seriously? No, SERIOUSLY?? Why are all you parents interpreting a few product warnings as an attack on your lifestyle? No one is attacking co-sleeping and no one is attacking baby slings. It's simply saying that these products, when used improperly, pose a risk.
And where do you people get off bringing thigs like cars into the equation? There's a whole magazine on car safety, unless you haven't noticed. It's all about how you use the products, plain and simple.
Now I'm really dreading my daughter getting old enough for elementary school, unless we can channel this rallying energy into a PTO fundraiser or something.
One day, a ConsumerReports writer is going to take a time machine for a spin, go back to prehistory, get stuck, begin abusing their advanced knowledge to obtain power in the tribe, and advise against beast feeding, child interaction, playing without a helmet, eating uncooked food, and all of the things humans used to do, and thereby eliminate all subsequent injuries by stopping mankind in our own tracks. New Science: beats New Math. Mothers cause death: everyone who ever died has been shown to have had a mother.
Perhaps some of the authors for CR need to do their own research. Perhaps they can start with the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab at Notre Dame and Dr. James McKenna. Perhaps they could look past the AAP and into indepth studies done around the world concerning SIDS and co-sleeping.
As has been stated, co-sleeping is only dangerous when a few other things are factored in...namely drugs, alcohol and obesity.
Carrying babies in slings and other carriers has been done safely for many years. Just because a few slings are badly made does not make all baby carriers unsafe.
Whether you are directly opposing baby wearing and co-sleeping is not really the issue. Just by publishing this article you will fuel the fire of the ignorant who will take your word or the word of the AAP over the word of piles of research to the contrary. Shame on you. Shame on the commenters that can't see that the research and the history is on the side of baby wearing and co-sleeping.
Actually, I'm feeling a bit sorry for CR for having stepped into this particular beesnest. But having slept with my kids when they were infants, and then had them migrate into our room in the middle of the night for another 9 or 10 years, I would guess that in the absence of neurological problems or intoxication, it's pretty hard to smother a baby or child while one sleeps. And the kids do eventually stop coming in in the middle of the night and seem pretty well-balanced despite their years of nighttime wanderings.
I am reminded of the recent Washington Post article on how of rear facing car seats have been associated with a marked increase in babies being left in hot cars and dying of hyperthermia. Do we stop putting the baby in back? No, we come up with safety systems that prevent one from forgetting the baby. (Read the article - it's pretty convincing.) Similarly, parents should learn safe co-sleeping techniques - separate blankets for mom and dad, baby in the middle in a sleeper, a firm mattress without headboard gaps, a large enough bed so everyone has enough room. Also a crib for occasional mommy-free naps, and a guest room bed for any nookie that new parents have energy to pursue.
This is the first bad advice I have ever seen in CR, which is pretty disappointing. But I still feel sort of sorry for the author. Ticked off parents can be a pretty fierce bunch.
I was inspired to write a comment after reading the list here, but the comments have been so good, not much I could add. The one thing I wonder is if Consumer Reports will recall this absolutely ridiculous article. Do they also suggest you should never buy vacuums because some put to much dust in the air? Never buy diswashers because some don't really clean your dishes?
Maybe, to be really controversial, they should recommend never buying a bottle for your a baby... we know the dangers from those are well known!
I am a subscriber to consumer reports, but this article makes me question remaining one. I am personally offended by the blanket condemnation of sling carriers and co-sleepers. I look for Consumer Reports to provide objective information on products and comparisons, with clear quantitative evidence. It would be helpful for instance to see a comparison of sling features, brands, durability, weight carrying capacity, usability, and comfort. A blanket dismissal of all carriers as being unsafe is both untrue and unhelpful. I will take everything I read from consumer reports with a bucket full of salt from now on, that is, if I decide to remain a customer.
I'm disappointed in this piece.
When a XYZ car’s brakes fail, you don’t say “we recommend you don’t drive.”
This piece should have been presented the same way. The co-sleeper information (and we used one) was really important because it spoke to a particular /product/ that had a design flaw. And it is good to know about lack of standards.
But the whole practice is not within the scope of that testing.
Same thing with the sling - was it particular slings that led to infant injury with a particular design flaw? What about wraps? And so on and so forth. In this case the information was worse than useless and not up to CR’s standards. Babies are injured every day but is it a design problem, poor manufacturing, or just a mother tripping on a skateboard in the driveway?
That’s what consumers want to know. I'm assuming this was a good web idea gone wrong (well, good in terms of traffic). I hope the response has been helpful.
It is beyond ridiculous to recommend that parents avoid slings as a result of 4 accidental deaths in 5 years. Do you know how many children have died as a result of a fall from a parent's arms? Any death that results from a fall is a horrible event, but to conclude that slings are unsafe as a result is irrational.
Telling parents to skip co-sleeping and slings because of a few accidents would be like saying, "Don't buy a car, because people have died in them." People die all kinds of ways, and it would be more accurate to say that people using the slings and co-sleepers should be educated about their proper and safe use. There are many, many physiological, social, and emotional benefits to both babywearing and co-sleeping, and I think they FAR, FAR outweigh the very small risk that a baby might die from either of these practices. Come on, Consumer Reports, do your research on the benefits of these concepts before you trash them wholesale. If there are individual products that are not safe, by all means, alert us, but don't throw out the baby with the defective sling, so to speak.
This is absurd! It sounds like Consumer Reports is not only co-sleeping with someone, their going at it with each other. I would say I'm surprised, but this is just another example of giving false information all for the sake of consumerism. I will now never use Consumerism Report to base any of my buying decisions. They have lost my trust.
Adding my voice to the dissent about this article. I would venture that you can find almost any baby 'contraption' that has resulted in at least a few tragic deaths, most often from misuse. For example, swings are a very popular alternative to slings (i.e. baby wearing is about freeing your hands up, as are baby swings) and I know they have resulted in deaths. Why aren't they on the list?
As for cosleeping, it is misleading to say the safest place for a baby is a crib without mentioning that, sadly, there are lots of deaths each year of babies sleeping alone in a bare crib. There is no one environment that is SIDS-proof. It's awful, but it's the truth. This article oversimplifies the issue big time.
I agree with most of the comments posted here, everything is potentially unsafe when used improperly. Sling carriers and cosleeping are safer than car seats and cribs, just look at statistics, even the ones from crib manufacters.
If you are thinking about writting a new list on this topic, I suggest you look further into these really unsafe, unhealthy products:
1. Baby formula, not just the one tainted with melamin. The many ways manufacters disguise sugar contents in it and its MSG contents are alarming, and what about the scary estrogens-like compounds in soy formula? that's something worth looking into.
2. Baby cosmetic products, shampoo, lotion, sunscreem, diaper cream, etc. Ingredients in popular baby products are proven to be cencerogenic, with developmental/reproductive toxicity or endocrine disruptors. Search the www.cosmeticdatabase.com for more information.
3. Baby videos, they actually delay language development and communication skills. With every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos.
4. Baby vaccines that contain mercury compounds in it, for children susceptible to mercury, intoxication can be fatal of result in a permanent developmental or brain damage.
5. Baby pacifiers, bottles, dishes and utensils that contain BPA, PVC and/or lead in them, and there are lots of them.
I really hope you rewrite this list again so more consumer are better informed, not worse.
It sounds like consumer reports is biased against co-sleeping and baby-wearing parents. Instead of giving advice on products that make these practices safer and easier, they take the easy way out and just say "don't do it at all" because of a few defective products. Why don't you spend a little more time researching this consumer reports? Parents have been co-sleeping and baby-wearing for hundreds of years, all over the world, and they aren't going to stop now. Get with the times and give us info we can really use!
I tried placing my now 2 year old son in his bassinette when he was first born. To be honest, I was just too worried. SIDS was always a concern. I found when I brought him to bed with me, we both slepts better, breastfeeding went more smoothly and I was always aware of him. I certainly think you must do what is best for you and your baby, but to totally discount bed sharing or co-sleeping is irresponsible. I now also have a 6 month old, and he knows nothing other than bed sharing. It works great for the our family.
I don't know what women ever did without the sling. I could not imagine, especially now having a toddler and an infant, what women did without them. Of course, I think you must be sure to wear them properly.
As with anything, you must be aware of children. You mustn't be inebriated in anyway. Mothers who are in tune with their children shouldn't have too many difficulties. Slings should be used properly. Go to a La Leche League meeting or find a mom's group if you are not certain.
I am another co-sleeping, babywearing mother appalled by this article. A lack of product safety standards or research does not mean the product is unsafe; it means you don't know whether or not the product is unsafe. The incendiary headline and biased reporting do a disservice to your publication and mislead parents about these products.
I read in the NYT this morning that the author is planning a response. I look forward to his corrections, and hope that this article will be quickly retracted lest it dissuade parents from long-standing safe parenting practices like babywearing and cosleeping. An article like this can not only frighten parents, but hurt small businesses and be misused by industry lobbyists. I hope Consumer Reports will act to contain the damage done by this irresponsible article.
" ... we think the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib."
Stick to evaluating PRODUCTS, Consumer Reports, and stop critiquing PARENTING CHOICES.
Wow. Those who are offended by this article really, really need to take a step back.
Consumer Reports focuses on consumer safety and relies on tested products. This isn't a judgment on your lifestyle, it is a judgment that some popular products have not been researched or proven as safe as there are no safety standards. Yes, the article is sensationally written, but the self-righteous responses here are more scary than the article itself.
uhhh so what happens to common sense? just because some parents have neglected to use some of these items safely does not mean they are unsafe.
if you really want to create a list of products not to buy for your baby how about focusing on things that don't actually make a positive difference in their development (ie. the millions of different bum creams, over priced laundry detergent specifically for kids-what a croc, etc)
As a longtime subscriber, I am very disappointed by the lack of research that led to this list. I've raised three boys and worked with new moms for many years. I feel so sorry for the babies left in swings and car seats. There is even a bottle with a nipple on a tube so baby can suck without being held. All babies need is a warm body to hold them, a breast or two for nutrition, and something to wear depending on the weather. Slings make it easier to carry babies and cosleeping makes it easier to sleep. I've never understood why adults think that babies want to sleep alone. How many adults really want to sleep alone?
Slings are my favorite gift to give at baby showers. Babies have been kept close to their Moms and other family members and caregivers forever. Have you ever visited a zoo? Do you see primates carrying their babies? Keeping baby close is best for baby and the easiest way for parents to go out for leisure and to get work done. Take a look at the Sears website for more information. My sling still hangs in my closet for times that I babysit and my youngest is 11 years old.
I didn't use a cosleeper because my two youngest slept with in my bed but for those people who aren't comfortable with that, there are good cosleeper available or you can keep the crib next to the bed. My oldest was fine with his crib until about 6 months when he started to cry at being left. Parents who do not use drugs or alcohol, are careful with pillows and comforters, and have a firm matress are very attuned to their infants safety. I often awoke in sync with the baby, nursed him, and fell back asleep without getting up or losing much sleep. When the boys weaned, they still enjoyed falling asleep with us. But do not worry, they are the most independent people ever and have all moved on. Parents may not realize that most of the world does not leave their infants alone to cry themselves to sleep or to wake up crying.
Ironically, the reason that my middle child slept with me was that he rolled over at 3 weeks, regularly, from back to front. The pediatrician said it was my responsibility to turn him back. Can you imagine? Was I to stay up all night, every night, and still care for two kids? We tried a couple of the sleep positioners that you do not like but he was a big baby and could still roll. We both slept better and nursing was much easier in the same bed.
Ok, so I really don't need to restate what everyone else has already, but I am compelled to post anyway, in the theory that the maximum number of comments will help CR to realize how completely they goofed on this one. I have co-slept with both of my children, ages 5 and 2, as well as carried them both in slings for the first two years of their lives. My sling was THE best baby purchase, the MOST used, MOST invaluable accessory that I had, and I will continue to use one with future children. Having my babies/toddlers next to me not only added to our mother/baby attachment, but also kept them safe, from say toddling into traffic or getting lost in a crowd. Clearly the people at CR responsible for this article have never had experience with slings or co-sleeping, which is unfortunate for them.
Wow. I just wanted to add my voice to the many folks who think this piece was at best ill-informed and at worst, biased and dangerous. Sheesh.
I think it is really a disservice to condemn all slings and co-sleepers because there have been a few accidents. The benefits of both babywearing and co-sleeping are many and well documented. Of course, people need to do both safely like anything else but condemning entire product categories is ridiculous. Co-sleeping has been linked to lower rates of SIDS along with other benefits. Wearing babies in slings has many advantages over strollers but must be done safely.
I would like to see CS make up for this with some articles looking at the benefits of slings and co-sleepers and doing ratings for some of the more popular brands.
What about accidents from defective high chairs, cribs, playpens, strollers, swings, car seats, baby food, formula?
I know personally of a stroller death (due to defectiveness), two serious head injuries involving high chairs (due to defectiveness), and I have read so many more articles about accidents involving all of these items. I just googled these items and death. I will never trust consumer reports again because I found far more deaths involving strollers (and most were recalled) then slings.
I have never actually heard of a sling killing any babies and all of the mothers I know use them. I agree about the cosleeping furniture but I just plain cosleep no need to buy anything just put the baby in your bed. Being safe is about trusting yourself not some corporation using cheap labor and materials.
i'm so glad so many have chimed in here to point out how ridiculous this article is. i am a long-time subscriber of CR and i am embarassed to see this report. comparing products is what CR does -- so do it, CR. stop advocating a particular parenting agenda. why don't you tell people to stop driving cars? if only we could say only 4 children have died in 5 years in cars...
I'm sure CR has gotten plenty of criticism over this article, so I'll only add to it by saying that it does seem a little silly to condemn all slings because the Infantino sling is so terrible. It's well-known among the babywearing community that that particular sling is dangerous for a few reasons. There is an excellent review of its faults and how it's fundamentally different than other babywearing slings and wraps at thebabywearer.com, which is available with a free registration.
Very dissapointing. All I can say is that a man must have written this article. LOL....
I read about this article in the New York Times and as a CR subscriber, I was interested. I expected something a lot more biased, based on the comments there. However, as a carrier-user and sometimes-co-sleeper, I thought this was actually quite a good one. A lot of comments are quite off the mark- for example, the reporter actually endorsed all carriers BUT slings.
I have often wondered how slings compare in safety to other carriers (e.g. my Ellaroo podaegi, or an Ergo). I also was under the false impression that sleep wedges and co-sleepers were regulated like all other sleep devices (cribs, etc.). I am sorry to know that they are not, but I am glad that I know! Thanks for the heads-up.
I would suggest, however, that articles of this type compare different products based on consumer opinions and proper statistics, rather than just on numbers of injuries. For example, how many children were injured in mei tais, Ergos or Baby Bjorns? And how do the different types of slings compare? The article gives no clue. How many children suffered injury because they were not with their mothers, because of a lack of a carrier? Could CR compare statistics of crib death etc. between children in co-sleepers and children in other sleepers? That would have been much more helpful.
Overall I did not really find this a useful article, but not because it "attacks" a lifestyle (namely, my own), which it does not. It is not useful because it does not inform us as to the comparative advantage of particular products, and does not give specific and relative (to the alternatives, e.g. carseats, leaving baby to scream, etc. etc.) dangers of the ones it warns against. We are left to assume far too much.
I love Consumer Reports, but add my name to the list of those disappointed in the overly broad recommendations in this article.
Saying that you shouldn't use slings because one or two slings brands (and there are hundreds on the market) were unsafe, or their users did not use them safely, is akin to saying don't use a stroller because a child fell out of one particular brand, or because their parent didn't not strap them in (a common occurance, by the way). Ditto for the blanket statement about co-sleepers. And, last time I checked, I don't believe anyone on the staff of Consumer Reports is qualified to make a definitive statement on the safety of co-sleeping.
Consumer Reports, this article has made broad generalizations that are not worthy of your usually thorough and objective recommendations. I suggest your revise the "list" or make it more specific.
Are you kidding me? They didn't test anything on this page but took their information from reading recalls.
Car seats get recalled all the time too, for design flaws (even the beloved Britax)...should we not use a car seat for our kids just in case? Some of these car seat recalls have been really bad too...like slipping belts and breaking anchors. I'm all about safety and kids but really...how about some information regarding actual product testing not regurgitated news. That I would actually find helpful!
Co-sleeping, nursing and slingwearing are three of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child. All three of these are free or inexpensive. How sad that expensive and often dangerous cribs, carriages and playpens are the encouraged alternatives.
4 deaths in 5 years puts the baby sling on this list. Well then we might want to add:
- strollers - 22 related deaths in a 10 yr span, that would be approx. 11 deaths in 5 years.
- baby formula - 3 deaths (in China alone) one year, for comparisons sake multiply that by five, that would be 15 in five years
- bucket infant carriers - 20 deaths in 10 yrs, divide and that's 10 deaths in five years.
- cribs and playpens - an estimated 80 deaths per year, let's multiply that by 5 - 400 deaths in five years.
Hmm, well the numbers certainly are frightening, and well above the stats listed in this article. Perhaps we should abandon these products too?
Babywearing and cosleeping ARE PERFECTLY SAFE! this detaching needs to stop.
It's all been said, and I personally don't find the article to be offensive, just logging my comment that we have coslept and used baby carriers with our children and haven't injured one yet. Agree that obesity and intoxication are the true dangers.
All of these things are safe, when used properly, and the users are educated. Unfortunately, this website doesn't seem to know how to distinguish between an item that is unsafe because it was made unsafely, and an item that actually needs to be used properly.
More babies die from crib bumpers than from slings. Where's report about that? Stick with reviewing products, not parental decisions.
For you to lump together all baby slings and call them unsafe is akin to lumping together all of any product. That doesn't seem to be in the true spirit of Consumer Reports.
It also isn't very CR to only tell part of the story. What about deaths related to cribs? What about deaths related to other types and styles of baby carriers? How many of each item is in use?
The design of most cribs is inherently unsafe. It is just begging for a limb to become stuck between bars, or for a toddling baby to fall and break an arm. I find it hard to believe that they have so much support from doctors and consumer research groups.
Is CR too mainstream to actually get to the bottom of any of these issues? Does CR just have a standard formula approach to everything they analyze? It probably does, which would hinder its ability to truly question whether a practice is safe or not.
Sad to see these breezy dismissals of things like co-sleepers and slings. If there's a specific problem that kids are getting caught in a gap in some particular co-sleeper model, or that a particular sling tends to be insecure and dump kids out, etc. that would have been useful info. It's hard to believe the author didn't know how fiercely politicized these issues can be in the parenting community, so I would expect a CR article on these things to be neutral and present specifics and evidence for its conclusions. Given the expectation that the author must have known about the strong feelings out there, the lack of specifics in the article really makes it come off like a screed from the anti-attachment-parenting crowd. No wonder people have exploded in anger at this article -- CR has a well-deserved reputation for being better than this.
Co-sleeping and the use of a sling let me be emotionally and physically close to my babies. Without these tools I would have been SO exhausted, so dangerous behind the wheel and with intensely needy infants at home. I'm starting to think you published this as an April fool article. It's got to be your worst "effort" yet--hasn't it?
Yes, the Infantino bag sling and other bag slings ARE dangerous. It is too easy for infants in them to slip into the chin-dug-into-chest position, or to be compromised in breathing w/o the mother seeing them. This position is also quite possible in car seats & strollers, btw - all parents need to be aware of it.
However, proper sling positioning in a real sling (one that does not force baby into the dangerous, unnatural "purse position") is extremely safe, tested by centuries of use, and has saved countless babies from skull fractures, etc., that would have resulted when the parent carrying the (usually too-large-for-car-seat-carrying) baby/toddler trips and falls and needs both hands to catch him/herself. Real slings save lives & boost physical & emotional health, short- and long-term.
I'm shocked to see Consumer Reports running an article when it is CLEARLY lacking in any research whatsoever when it comes to SAFE cosleeping and babywearing practices.
It is articles like this that make parents such as myself feel like Consumer Reports does not speak for or to them. There is a large contingent of mothers that identify themselves in the attachment parenting category and articles such as this one make it harder for us. If it were based in fact that would be one thing. However, it is NOT based in adequate, current research and instead uses outdated theory and scare tactic propaganda.
Below I've listed some great resources that tell about SAFE cosleeping practices:
Why babies should never sleep alone: A review
of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS,
bedsharing and breast feeding
James J. McKenna* and Thomas McDade -http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/articles/McKenna_why%20babies%20should%20n.pdf
Why we never ask "Is it safe for infants to sleep alone?" By James J. McKenna - http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/articles/A.pdf
Safe Cosleeping by Dr. Jay Gordon- http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/cosleeping.asp
Not Designed to Sleep Alone by Dr. Jay Gordon - http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/sleep/gordon.html
Sleeping Safely With Your Baby by Dr. William Sears- http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/T102200.asp
Co-Sleeping Safely, by Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution- http://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/5-ap/312-co-sleeping-safety.htm
Where Should Babies Sleep at Night?: A Review of the Evidence from the CESDI SUDI Study by Peter Fleming- http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/sleep/fleming.html
As for wearing one's baby in a sling there MANY articles supporting the benefits and PROPER sling usage:
Babywearing- By Dr. Sears - http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051100.asp#T051103
Safe Babywearing by Contra Costa Health Services - http://cchealth.org/services/breastfeeding/safe_baby_wearing.php
Tips for safe babywearing - http://www.thebabywearer.com/articles/HowTo/SafeBabywearing.htm
Please consider pulling this inflamatory and ill-researched article from your sire, or at least offer these researched articles as an alternative.
Unfortunately, this article overlooks so many more real dangers. For example, the issue of cosleeping. So many more deaths occur in cribs than cosleeping devices each year. A plethora of information about the benefits of cosleeping is available. Millions of mothers do it worldwide, and have been for eternity. Remember, the lay name for SIDS is *crib* death.
Wow. I'm a father of a 3 month old and a 2 1/2 year old.
The article, like many on CR, is opinionated but based on flaws in products found from recalls or testing. Just like when they say that some sunscreen doesn't work as well as advertised.
As for saying that accidents happen when things like slings or co-sleeping are misused, that's like arguing that CR shouldn't have pointed out that the Ford Explorer rolled over and defending the SUV by saying that the deaths were caused by poor drivers. The Explorers as they were designed were a risk, and by avoiding them or fixing the problems, safety was increased and lives saved. Retraining every driver in America wasn't an option, and even the best drivers find themselves in unexpected situations.
If you personally believe that the products are good, and you believe that the risks to your children are acceptable (remember that they're talking low single digits of deaths, and there are around 3-4 million kids are born each year, so these are very rare events) it's up to you. But isn't CR doing their stated mission by pointing out that this is a risk you can avoid?
Why is it that when the same rigor is applied to infant products as is applied to cars or sunscreen, people here respond with vicious attacks on CR?
This is probably the most careless article I've ever read. Since when does CR publish their opinion based on what they think should or should not be done. This was obviously written by a man probably with no kids.
Go to another country and ask them how they get work done with a baby - they'll show you a sling. Ask them where their baby's crib is and they'll look at you like you are crazy.
It's more parenting problems and not practicing proper technique. I have two kids, both slept in bed with my husband and I and both still ride around in slings, and have since day one. Slings are probably the best item a new mommy can have and it's probably the number one thing I couldn't have lived without. Above diapers, above cute clothes, about cribs or toys - a sling and a boob, really is all you need.
And seriously, 4 deaths in 5 years? That's a really small fraction. I feel horrible for those 4 families but I'm sure way, way more babies die in cribs.
It is very sad to see that a person who obviouly has not even tried attachement parenting would be writing this article for consumer reports. ANYTHING can be a hazard to your child's safety if not used properly.
The author fails to give the concrete evidence that is the standard in any other CR article.
He should not group all baby slings: there are slings, such as the Baby K'tan that are very safe for the baby and for the mommy's back as well. Also, he should not assume that "other" baby carriers are free of fault: I used a Snugli with my first child and her legs were so spread apart that she had markings on her inner thighs.
In addition, the author cannot say that co-sleeping is a bad thing; he obviouly has never had to breastfeed an infant every 2 hours for months!
I must add that I am very disappointed that the Editor of CR would allow such a emocionally charged article to be published seemingly, without much research.
I do expect CR to re-do this article with much more research to back up the comments.
I take serious issue with the generalizations made in this article. The cosleeping and babywearing products featured here are each the standout bad examples among a body of good products. Using well-made products in the same categories is crucial for many parents. Like with everything else, good judgment must be exercised. Consumer reports should be researching the standards for these products and reporting on them, NOT encouragins its readership to avoid them altogether! Start by looking at the Arms Reach Cosleeper and its great safety features, then head on over to Thebabywearer.com to see product comparisons for every kind of baby carrier and tons of safety info as well!
In response to this:
" ... we think the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib."
It looks to me like cribs are the most unsafe place for a child.
This article is really disappointing. I wont be renewing my subscription if they continue to disseminate incorrect information.
I have co-slept & worn all three of my children(now 6yrs, 4 yrs & 2yrs old).
Co-sleeping & baby wearing are two of the best parenting choices my husband & I made. I'm amazed at the biased reporting in this article. Where is the side-by-side comparison of a variety of sling styles and co-sleepers?
I find it humorous that if you used the simplicity co-sleeper as a co-sleeper and not a bassinet that you would avoid the strangulation risk that they show. I about fainted (I owned this model) when I found out about the recall, and breathed a sigh of relief when I realized my baby was never in harms way.
This would be useful information if compared to the number of same injuries for babies in strollers, or babies in car seats used as non-automobile baby carriers, or babies dropped directly from a parent's arms ...
==Over the past five years, at least four babies died and there have been many reports of serious injury associated with the use of sling-type carriers. The incidents include skull fractures, head injuries, contusions and abrasions. Most occurred when the child fell out of the sling.==
I am stunned more has not been said about the millions of recalls that poison,endanger and kill our children daily. We can only be fair cs should be ashamed of themselves and i am outraged that in 2009 new parents are duped into spending and buying items that are literally killing our youth. It is all about the money!! The whole issue is disgusting.....has cs researched the hazards and misuse of infant car seats? Have you? The money is not in the cure it is in the disease and we need to hold the big guys accountable,just as much as we have to change legislation and FDA.
This is irresponsible reporting. And Mary Ellen's comment below truly sums it up from a logical point of view. Please, point out faulty products, but unless Comsumer Reports and its authors are experts on co-sleeping or babywearing, Consumer Reports and their authors should refrain from commenting on a subjective topic.
Infantino is a crappy brand of crappy slings. There are good, safe sling carriers out there.
Safe cosleeping is statistically safer than safe crib-sleeping. Also, very few babies will sleep in a wooden cage. Mine wouldn't--from birth. In my arms or in my bed. He has never, ever fallen or stayed asleep anywhere else. And, believe me, I have tried.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not ALL slings. It's specifically the 'bag' sling that's in question here (bad for baby's breathing/airway if nothing else), not pouch or ring slings. Why doesn't CS make that clearer??
Kudos, CR for publishing these recommendations. I truly appreciate an honest assessment of the baby product options out there.
It's amazing how defensive Attachment Parenting enthusiasts get when you question the safety of products they associate with the practice. Calm down, people. He's not calling you bad parents because you co-sleep or wear slings. He's saying that co-sleepers and slings are not regulated and have not been proven safe. That's the objective truth whether you like it or not.
I believe that there needs to be more of a worldly look at co-sleeping and baby wearing before assessing what is bad and what is good. It is a little hard to swallow that mothers all over the world that just plainly use a piece of cloth to wrap their baby and use a blanket to lay their baby down to sleep are putting there babies in danger, compaired to the high infant rate of the US, which have more products for a baby than any other country. I am personally tired of being constantly looked down on for my baby wearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, and exclusive breastfeeding habits that are used all over the world and years ago in our country.
Scary about the bumper pads. We did use them for our two sons, but if we have more children, I will have to consider removing it.
I think the problem in this article is it generalizes. In every area not just in those 2 ways. I notice no one is getting outraged that he didn't mention that there are mesh bumpers that you can buy and use. Or that babies are just as likely to drown in baby tubs, sinks, and bath tubs if left unattended.
I imagine the reason he put that crib is best for baby is because AMA has said the same thing. The truth is bed,co-sleeper,crib or bassinet most of the time the child dies because of misuse or bad manufacturing
Reporting on the facts of a product is responsible journalism. If it doesn't work, please let us know.
Reporting on a lifestyle, however, based on recalls of bad products that support this lifestyle, is opinion, not fact, and opinion has no place in recall notifications.
I proudly supported co-sleeping, baby wearing and nursing for all four of my children. Something is recalled? Please, tell me. But don't judge a practice that has been used successfully by millions of responsible parents since the dawn of time based on a handful of products manufactured poorly, or on parents making stupid mistakes.
Let's list the facts in an article and stay away from opinions.
It's shockingly ignorant to condemn all slings/wraps/carriers just because one company makes a crummy & dangerous carrier. I see the picture of the infantino carrier there-- just from the picture, it looks unwieldy, uncomfortable, and unsafe. I'd never buy or recommend it...however, my ring sling (it's a maya wrap) has been a lifesaver for me, my husband, and our 2-year-old. I don't really know what attachment parenting is. I use disposable diapers and a crib. But I can't recommend a good ring sling highly enough. It's a safe, easy, and comfortable way to carry a baby and keep him happy, and I have to agree with all these parents condemning this blanket-statement article.
Avoid all slings because one brand is shoddy? Are you kidding me? What an irresponsible article.
I assure you, once you learn how to use a good sling and give it an honest try, you'll never go back. They're wonderful.
I have something to remark about the popular co-sleeping/sling carrying... I did it, do it and love it.
sure there are risks but there are risks and rates to every thing... how many babies died of SIDS while co sleeping or being carried in a sling for nap time???? or how many sociopaths have mothers who practiced 'attached parenting'?
i agree it is time to start lookin into our history and putting out results for that, im happy and my children are happy and healthy...
everyone is wrong sometimes so let's give these officials a break and hope the people heeding this advise read on to our comments and find further support for their personal styles
My wife and I are on our first child. We use a sling, and we just started using the Arms-Reach Co-sleeper. We decided this morning to do a full-stop on using the co-sleeper. In retrospect we now see that if you wouldn't use bumpers in a crib, why would you use a co-sleeper? Twice last night our 3-week old baby kicked herself to her side enough to essentially face-planted directly into the padded side of the co sleeper that is attached to the mattress. Had we not actually witnessed this she might have suffocated.
We still employ attachment style and are now using our Stokke mini bassinet wheeled just next to the bed.
Just be aware that the Arms-Reach co-sleeper (and presumably most others) presents one side that is at least as much of a suffocation hazard as a crib bumper.
My nephew almost died the day after being carried around in a sling, at the time my sister loved it, she was even able to breast feed him easily. The next day he stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital, when the pediatrician asked if we had done anything different over the past few days we mentioned the sling and he said they are the most dangerous thing out there and if pediatricians has it their way they would be outlawed. That was good enough for me to never buy one, its not worth the risk when there are a lot of other really good and safe options.
While I agree that opinions have their own place, that is exactly what we are all expressing here. There is no rule book to parenting. If there were, we might all be much better at it! :o) I find these articles interesting and I always take them into perspective with my own style. If I disagree with something, I disagree...no harm, no foul. However, I do appreciate knowing when products pose safety hazards. I did not find this article irresponsible at all. They were simply informing us of the statistics and pointing out that slings might not be such a necessity after all due to recent injuries and deaths. They did not give us the facts of these instances, so we can't say whether it was from faulty equipment, "stupid parenting," or the design itself. So, maybe instead of jumping on the journalist's case, we should remember that recommendations and advice are often aimed at the lowest comprehension in a group because, no matter how smart some people are, there is always someone who doesn't get it.
--Mother of 5 with one on the way
So, CR is still standing by this shoddy "reporting"? What a bunch of hooey.
You women are ridiculous. Its an internet article, for crying out loud. Quit your griping and go spend some time with those children that you are doing such a HUGE favor to by cosleeping/cribsleeping/wearing/eating/god knows what else. They don't give a crap what you do, they just want you to get off the computer and go play with them. do you think that when they grafuate high school they are going to say "and its all thanks to the fact that mom carried me in a sling instead of a babybjorn, and made sure all the other moms knew about it!'. And if you are setting such a great example for them by doing all that, what kind of example are you setting by sitting hunched over a keyboard for long enough to type out several paragraphs worth of clucking? You don't see people getting all worked up about consumer report's articles about cars, do you? 'how dare they say the turning radius is too wide in my VW. I am a wonderful corner-turner!'.
CR prints the findings of carefully controlled, lab based experiments. Bring all your baby-mama-drama back over to babycenter.com. You big old bunch of dorks.
I don't think there is anything wrong with informing other parents of faulty products. What is the problem? I'd rather hear something 10 times than put my baby in something unsafe. and yes Baby Center IS full of drama, apparently you are not allowed to share your experiences on there either or risk being attacked by "experts" or just RUDE ppl.
Sounds like most of the injuries and death were caused by people and not products. Co-sleeping prevents SIDS, Attachment parenting improves children's development and behavior. Do a little more research next time.
Get your facts straight CR! I am outraged by the fact that you do not recommend ANY slings - the slings in questions are pouch type slings like the infantino, NOT all slings. Most slings are more safe than carrying (and ignoring) your child while he/she is in a carseat. You have just lost me as a LONG time supporter.
Since when does CR recommend avoiding an entire category of products because one crappy one was deemed unsafe?
As the mother of 3 happy and well-adjusted children, I am thankful for this article. I have no opposition to baby-carrying or co-sleeping, but I am still pleased that CR choose to analyze and review these products. CR is just providing information, parents can and will make their own choices. You people are not better than the breast-feeding nazis (and yes, I also breastfeed, but don't think it is a requirement to be a good parent). Everyone live and let live!
I'm sorry, but this article is short sighted. Anything is dangerous when used improperly - a crib, a car seat, a bath tub...bottom line: Watch your baby and take care to follow instructions.
And seriously, 4 babies have died in 5 years from a sling? I mean...hello...statistical improbability, anyone? How many babies have died in that same time frame from car accidents? I bet more have been struck by lightening!
What a disappointing article! As a FTM to a 16 week old little boy, I found the sleep positioner invaluable as it gave me piece of mind that my baby was in a safe sleeping position at night. We're often brow beaten about the risks of SIDS and a couple of the items mentioned above can be helpful tools in helping to lower the risk.
It's unfortunate that there isn't any mention of SIDS in the article, and I would have liked to have seen a little elaboration on a couple of these. For example, the suggestion to remove bumpers should also mention that blankets can also pose a suffocation risk and that a sleepsack can help to cut down on this risk. Scroll down to the SIDS part of this page - http://www.babysleepbags.com/content/The_Merino_Kids_Baby_Sleep_Bag.htm for more info.
From the Consumer Product Safety Commision on Unsafe Cribs: "More than 5 million cribs, bassinets and play yards have been recalled in the last two years." Now if we apply this article's logic to that information, where does that leave us?
the Boon high chair seems to angle down so baby pushes forwaed onto the leg divider. This seems hard on baby front private area as there is a very hard divider that also makes the area sore or irritated with the downward pressure by the time they are done eating....
Where can I report this so someone checks it out if should be recalled ?
Enough of the self congratulating from the attachment parents!!
Simple fact is, throughout human history and prehistory, babies have fallen on thier heads and babies have been smothered in family beds. Those numbers are absorbed into infant mortality figures together with infectious diseases.
The problem with a sling is that the single points of attachment at the top and bottom allow the sling to rotate along its axis, basically dumping the baby out on the ground. Sometimes to its death. I'm sure this has happened in Africa and South America, and all the places where baby slings are time-honored methods of baby-toting.
On co-sleeping: most of the smothering deaths where the baby was actually in the parents' bed involve intoxicated parents-- either alcohol or antihistimines and other prescription medicine. In addition, any textile or any stuffed item can smother a baby if they cover the airways. That means blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, stuffed animals.
CR isn't saying that you need to put your baby in a Skinner box and feed it thru a robotic arm. They are just saying that statistically, there are dangers associated with certain child care articles; safer alternatives exist.
Look, to everyone who is complaining about this article, consider its intention: to protect YOUR children.
That is all.
Every year, over 13,000 children under the age of 3 suffer stroller-related injuries. Why aren't all strollers being condemned by CR?
I was very sad to see this article published again in the March/April 2010 issue of Working Mother. I agree that some items could be dangerous and the ones in the photos above are, however there are NO photos on the recent magazine.
Bag slings are dangerous and any sling can have problems if the wearer is not using it properly and paying attention to their child. I have a Breathable bumper for our crib, It is very sad that just about EVERY crib set sold in the US has a crappy padded bumper. I am sure their are some SIDs deaths that might have been prevented if the baby had no crib bumper or a mesh one. Why are crib bumpers not recalled or even not sold?
I for one am glad I carry my now 13 month old baby in a Maya Wrap or Sleepy Wrap and leave the car seat in the car where it belongs.
OK, CR, seriously it's been over a year since this terrible review was written. It's time to give us something better. Do you actually read what your commenters are saying? If so, then by now we would surely have a more in-depth look at the different types of baby slings available. I find your reporting to be fear-based, short-sighted, culturally biased, and just plain LAZY. Lack of research, consideration of parenting styles, etc.
I came to this site to see a review of slings to buy for my wife. Just as I came here to make a decision on a car seat (the Cortina Key Fit 30 is, in fact, a great product by the way. Thanks), but am extremely disappointed in this article. It's almost like your writer was not even aware that there are different types of slings out there!
Yes, seven deaths in 11 years is tragic, as are all infant fatalities. But it is just seven in 11 years! Seriously?! According to the CDC there were 1,335 child auto fatalities in 2005. Based on this, I can only assume CR will be condemning car seats because it is decidedly proven that traveling with babies in propelling metal, plastic and rubber projectiles at speeds up to 80 mph is unsafe. How about some reasonable perspective here, and not just the same old tired bias.
Anxiously awaiting a retraction or revision of this article...
This article is so reactionary; it is simply not backed-up by research and relevant facts.
Co-sleeping deaths? Are these deaths due to co-sleeping, or are they mostly SIDS deaths that happen to have occurred while the baby is in the bed? Are you aware of the Fox News report that investigated these deaths and found that none of them were breastfed babies?
Co-sleeping is more than likely beneficial for infants as it promotes breastfeeding and helps reduce the chances of SIDS. Your statement on co-sleeping is not based on comparative data and good research. (Try just comparing the number of co-sleeping deaths to the number of infant deaths in cribs and portable cribs.)
And this article is a double miss when you suggest that carrying your baby awkwardly in an infant car seat (when not in the car) is actually better than in a sling. Are you aware of the recently published articles in Pediatrics that show young infants can, and often do, experience de-saturation of oxygen levels when in infant car seats?
In western society, we are obsessed with finding new ways to keep our children quiet and entertained while out of our way. We carry them around in plastic containers while they long to be held. This unsubstantiated article will only add to the insanity.
Without more, this article is simply too short to provide any objective information on co-sleeping (or anything else for that matter).
If you look at the photo of the Simplicity bassinet co-sleeper, you can see that the danger to the infant arises from strangulation between the bars where the bassinet is supposed to meet the bed (note the baby doll dangling by its head from the bassinet ). As stated by the US CPSC, "The Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets contain metal bars spaced farther apart than 2 3/8 inches, which is the maximum distance allowed under the federal crib safety standard."
Thus, the defect of the product has nothing to do with "co-sleeping" per se. I would urge those people who are debating whether or not to use a co-sleeper to research beyond this article before making up their minds.
CR - this is a very shallow review, and it is far below the level I've learned to expect from you.
baby bath seats, co-sleeping devices, crib bumper pads all serve important purposes.
have you compared bath accidents of people not using bath seats before disqualifying them ? have you compared level of cleanliness and hygiene related issues ?
have you reviewed recent studies discussing the benefits of co-sleeping in regards to SIDS ?
have you compared acceidents and injuries of 3-4 months old babies in cribs without pads to accidents with pads ?
also, the absence of an industry standard shouldn't be a reason to disqualify a device. This is the reason for consumer organizations such as you, ladies and gentlemen. without a standard, one expects you to review all available products, and mark them according to quality, safety, ease of use, etc.
this article does not do it.
worse than that, it includes recommendations that - as previous responses show - disqualify styles of living. and this, with all due respect, is not the goal of CR.
the sooner this article is removed or amended, the better.