Crescent-shaped infant and nursing pillows are versatile and popular. They make it easier to feed babies by reducing strain on the arms, shoulder and neck, and prop babies up so they can practice sitting during supervised “tummy time” when a baby plays on the stomach.
However, crescent-shaped pillows such as the well-known Boppy™should NEVER be used as sleep aids or placed in a baby’s crib. The Boppy™ pillow is tagged with a warning and the no symbol plainly cautioning against the use of the product for sleeping babies. Additionally, the Boppy™ Web site specifically states: “We do not recommend using any of the Boppy™ pillow products for babies while sleeping.”
However, three recent child fatalities in Westchester were linked to crescent-shaped infant pillows. Two of the deaths involved children who were sleeping propped up on the pillow. The third involved a child who was put to sleep in a crib near a crescent-shaped pillow.
In each case, the cause of death was unexplained, and the fatalities were ruled to be the result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, the Westchester Child Fatality Review Team found it significant that each case involved the improper use of a crescent-shaped pillow in the infant’s sleeping environment.
- Babies should be given a sleep surface that is flat, firm and free of blankets, quilts, toys, stuffed animals and pillows of any kind.
- Never lay your baby on top of a pillow to sleep or prop your baby’s head or neck up with pillows or soft items like rolled-up towels.
- Use a crib that meets current safety standards. See www.cpsc.gov.
- Babies left to sleep should be placed on their backs, not on their tummies.