Congratulations are in order for Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill., and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey on the birth of their baby girl this week, Abigail O'kalani Bowlsbey! As a member of Congress, Rep. Duckworth may have more information available to keep baby Abigail safe than the average new parent may have. So we’ll take the opportunity today to share some new stuff about baby safety that we all should know.
David King, who teaches pediatrics at the University of Sheffield in England, has written a new article about cardiorespiratory baby monitors and infant wearables, which monitor an infant's heart rate and blood oxygen level. King says these devices are dangerous if they provide a false sense of security to parents who use the products thinking they can reduce the risk of SIDS. They can’t. Writes NPR,
[There were] unhappy experiments in the 1980s and 1990s with using monitors in an attempt to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. The monitors failed to reduce SIDS deaths in healthy infants and are no longer recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups.
The problem, King says, is that there's no research to suggest that the information provided by these new devices provides a reliable indicator of danger, or indeed any reliable information about your child. "It's not a medical device; it's not registered as a medical device. It's just for fun, really," King told Shots. "But if you look at the marketing so far, I don't think that's the message that comes across."…
The American Academy of Pediatrics has very specific advice for reducing SIDS risk, including putting babies to sleep on their backs and keeping soft bedding out of the crib. "Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS," the academy says, since "there is no evidence that use of such devices decreases the incidence of SIDS."
What’s more, says Time, “These monitoring products do not require premarket approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and King argues that despite the fact that the companies disclose that they are not medical devices, there’s not enough information ensuring parents really know that.”
Meanwhile, the annual “10 worst toys” is out from W.A.T.C.H. : World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. One of the 10 is a multi-colored instrument set selling at Wal-Mart for $9.97, that’s recommended for babies 12 months and over! Says the group, “The manufacturer provides no warnings regarding the slender, rigid approximately 4” long drumstick, which has the potential to be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.”
This is just the first of several lists of bad toys that consumer groups publish this time of year. And you can really keep up to date with U.S. PIRG’s toy safety app! What a great idea.