Update: Study Explores Danger of Infant Death from Sitting Devices

Update: Study Explores Danger of Infant Death from Sitting Devices

Our attentive readers know that we’ve been covering the recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. Now there’s even more information available about the dangers of infant death from this and other sitting devices, such as car seats, strollers and more.

Dangers of Sitting Devices: Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

First and foremost, any parent should read our blog posts about the recall of the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. At least 32 infant fatalities were reported before the product was recalled. As you’ll learn through the study, many of these dangers occurred through improper use of these household products. After extensive media coverage, more than four million of these sleepers were recalled. 

You can find the initial post about this dangerous concern and the subsequent recall information here. This is critical information for concerned parents and caregivers.

New Study Sheds Light on Overall Dangers of Sitting Devices

Whether we’re talking car seats, sleepers, bouncers or swings, sitting devices are more hazardous than most people realize. Either through misuse or poor construction, these devices cause several hundred infant deaths each year. 

The study in question, which was published in Pediatrics, used a large sample size over a 10-year period. It examined 11,779 sleep-related infant deaths across 45 states. To this end, the researchers compared specific risk factors for sleep-related infant deaths in both sitting and non-sitting devices. The goal was to better understand how these deaths occurred and what circumstances led to the tragedy.

In the study, these were the products that classified as sitting devices:

  • car seats,
  • strollers,
  • bouncers,
  • swings
  • and other infant seats. 

These are the factors that the researchers were considering during their explorations: 

  • the primary caregiver at time of death,
  • the setting of the accident,
  • whether the child was in a bed-sharing situation,
  • objects in the environment
  • and additional risk factors. 

Here are some of the results:

  • 348 (3%) of the affected infants died while in sitting devices. In most of these cases, the deaths took place in car seats.
  • One of the major causes of these accidents was the fact that the products were not being used properly. In fact, this was the cause more than 90% of the time. The median age at death was 2 months.
  • Overall, the majority of the infant deaths in sitting devices occurred at home and under the supervision of a parent.
  • When compared to deaths in non-sitting devices, such as a crib or bassinet, the babies who died in the sitting devices tended to be in greater danger when a non-parent was supervising. For example, a child care provider or babysitter.
  • The danger of the situation may grow as the risk factors multiply. Over three-fourths of the sitting device deaths in the study had at least one risk factor, and more than half had two or more risk factors. 

Put simply, it’s important to add layers of protection anytime you’re using sitting devices. These products should not be considered a replacement for a crib or bassinet. Additionally, always be sure to keep a close eye on any child who is using a sitting device. They should not be left unattended in a car seat or swing. It is important for all caregivers to educate themselves on the potential dangers of misusing sitting devices. 

To read the full study, you can find the actual text here.


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