Baby hedgehogs and baby sleep sacks have become a household staple, with new baby sleep products hitting shelves this month.
They’re a mess.
As it turns out, these little babies don’t have the same protection as older babies.
While the American Heart Association recommends that baby hedgehags and sleep bags should be protected from sunburn, heat and other environmental hazards, a new report finds that the babies themselves may be at risk.
“Boys, babies, babies are fragile,” said David D. Katz, a pediatric allergist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who co-authored the report with Dr. Amy W. Kloos.
“They can develop allergies and asthma, and there’s evidence that some infants are at increased risk for pneumonia and other health problems when exposed to the elements.”
That’s why Katz and his colleagues decided to look at how these babies are being used in the homes of baby boomers.
“What we found is that the baby sleep is more than just a product for older babies,” Katz told Business Insider.
“We found that the way that they’re being used is to treat babies in a way that’s not good for the environment.
And that’s why we think that there needs to be an overhaul.”
While the report is not intended to discourage parents from using baby sleep bags or hedgehuggers, Katz said it highlights the need to better monitor the safety of these products.
“The industry is making huge profits off of these baby products,” Katz said.
“And we have to do a better job of being vigilant about what we’re putting in our homes and what we put out there for the kids.”
So how do you make sure your baby sleep product isn’t a mess?
It all starts with the parents, Katz explained.
“If you look at the baby’s needs, what’s important is that it’s not a baby’s blanket.
It’s a blanket that the parent wants to use for their baby, not to have in their house,” Katz explained to Business Insider, explaining that some parents might not even want their child to sleep on a blanket, much less put it in their home.
The same goes for baby blankets.
Some parents might want to use them for their kids’ bedding, or they might be considering giving them away as gifts.
The American Heart Associations guidelines say that babies should not be given blankets in the first place.
So, Katz recommends that parents check the manufacturer’s website to make sure that they’ve read the product’s instructions and the health claims.
Parents who do have a problem should contact their local health department to learn how to contact them.
But parents who have concerns about the safety or effectiveness of the products should also look into other safety concerns, Katz added.
The new report found that there’s a clear lack of quality control at the top levels of the industry.
“There’s a real problem that there is a lack of understanding of how safe these products are,” Katz noted.
“It’s not just the companies that are doing it wrong.
There’s a lot of things that are happening in the industry.”
One of the biggest issues with baby sleep in the United States, Katz told us, is that baby sleep should be used as a supplemental sleep product, not a blanket.
“When you look for a baby sleep mattress, you’re looking at one that is made by one of the companies,” Katz added, explaining the industry’s tendency to focus on one product over another.
“For a baby blanket, it’s really the mattress, the pillow, and a baby bedding that you want to sleep with,” he added.
Katz said that babies can get sick from putting their heads on the blanket, which can lead to the flu, pneumonia and bronchitis.
“But babies are not necessarily going to have respiratory issues from that,” he said.
So while it may be easy to use baby sleep as a sleep blanket, there’s also a risk of causing serious illness.
“I know of no research to support this,” Katz cautioned.
“All of these companies say that they put a lot into their baby sleep, but it’s all just hype.”
If you or anyone you know has questions or concerns about baby sleep or its use, please call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit the agency’s website.