Baby Sleep Positioners Are Useless

The Today show talked about what furniture and devices babies really need, and which they really don’t.

Apparently, sleep positioners and bumpers are out. They say any of this pillow plush can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome if the child turns its nose into it.

Sandra Gordon, Consumer Reports editor, also talks about what baby bath seats are good and what aren’t. Let’s just hope they tested them at the right MPH. — BEN POPKEN

Top 10 products for new moms [Today]


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  1. scoobydoo says:

    Wipes warmers a waste? Tell that to my daughter :D

    And what is that crap about walking from one end of the room to the other with warm wipes? Which parent doesn’t have the wipes dispenser right next to the changing pad? If you have your wipes away from the changing pad then you are clearly doing something wrong as you need to be standing in front of your kid when changing them to be sure they don’t roll off the table.

    The rest of the advise is pretty much the same as my own experience.

  2. iMike says:

    Sleeping positioner fits near the baby’s hips, not anywhere near her face.

  3. megnificent says:

    Speaking as a mom of an 8-month old and an OCD’er whose particular problem is safety paranoia (seriously, I used to check door locks a dozen times before I could sleep), this list made even me look like a neglectful parent. I thought the whole point of sleep positioners was to keep the baby from rolling over onto their face, at least that’s what it did for my son for the first few months. With all the tossing and turning he did in his bassinet (oh no! bad me!) he NEVER wound up with his face in it.

    As far as bassinets are concerned, as long as you pick one with a sturdy frame and you know what you’re doing when you put it together, I don’t see the problem. How many people have room for a crib in their bedroom?

    Oh, and let’s not forget the bedding. We followed the rule about no blankets and used sleep sacks religiously (at $20 freaking dollars a pop for $2 worth of fabric.) But no bumpers? We were far more worried about him getting an arm or a leg caught between the slats. Tie the bumper tight and take it out when the baby can pull themselves up.

    I’m all for reasonable precautions, but one of the first hard lessons you learn as a parent is that no matter how hard to try to protect your child from everything you can think of, there will be something you forgot. Use a car seat, put them to sleep on their backs, and don’t let them chew on electrical wires. THEY’LL BE FINE.

  4. revmatty says:

    We were hyper about our first child. Always panicked that we were going to break her. Now she’s 3 and we’re much more laid back about baby #2. Sleep positioners are fine *if they are used properly*. As someone above noted, they are placed around the hips, not the torso. And if your child is sliding down the positioner so that their face is between the pads, you didn’t adjust it properly to their size.

    Sleep sacks/wraps are brilliant. Wipe warmers are a nice to have, not a have to have. Changing tables are the same.

    Most diaper pails are highly overrated. We tried all the big name expensive ones and they all sucked very badly. The one that actually controls odors and is easy to use? The cheapie Cosco or First Years $10 one. Uses standard garbage bags as well. The Dekor and Diaper Genie were terrible at odor control. And while it’s something I normally oppose, I read ALL the instructions for every baby product we bought.

    Some sort of bouncie seat or something so you can put them down long enough to do laundry/make dinner/etc is particularly handy as well. The recommendations on pacifiers and baths are right on.

    I’d take a look at Consumer Reports recommendations on things like strollers etc, MSNBC just recommends the most expensive brands with no explanation of how they are better. Note that the boutique brands of baby products have substantially higher safety recall rates…

  5. junkmail says:

    Jeez, I grew up with metal Tonka trucks, toys painted with lead, GIJoe, plastic guns and knives, Stretch Armstrong, (that I’m sure was filled with toxic waste), and metal roller skates. Rode a bike with no helmet, (the bike BARELY had a seat) stood up in the front seat of my Mom’s Vista Cruiser station wagon, and jumped off of anything I could manage to climb on. Our playgrounds were “padded” with rocks and broken beer bottles, (no fancy rubber pads here!), and a “good time” was a lighter and an ant hill. I must be freakin’ Superman or something if I made it this far, ’cause I’m pretty sure my mom never knew half the stuff in this video.

  6. homerjay says:

    @scoobydoo: I second that emotion.

    I also see nothing wrong with having both a swing and a bouncie. Just because consumer reports says its a “waste” doesn’t mean it actually is.

  7. drkkgt says:

    Yeah, the sleep positioner should be around the hips and snug so the baby doesn’t move down. As for the wipes warmer, my 11 day old son loves the warm wipes. he practically freaks if we use a cold one although it can be handy to wake him up for feeding. Plus I usually pull a few out (it’s on a shelf just below the changing table) and set them on the table (because like scoobydoo said above, you need to focus on the kid on the table) and they don’t get that cold unless your room if freaking freezing but the docs also recommend trying to keep the room temperature around the low to mid 70s so that shouldn’t be an issue either.

  8. North of 49 says:

    We use the floor to change our babies on. No way for the kids to fall off the floor.
    We cosleep. The first two didn’t like to shove their faces into things to sleep, but the third one does. More nights than not, Ms No49 wakes up with all three kids in bed with her.
    To bath the baby, she either uses the sink or gets into the bath as well.
    Instead of a swing, we used child carriers. Ms. No49 likes her sling. Mr. No49 likes his backpack carrier.

    You don’t need all those baby gadgets. In fact, the less you spend on those items, the better.

  9. juri squared says:

    @homerjay: I completely agree. The swing is great to lull my baby to sleep, but a bouncer is portable and, well, bouncy. I suppose if you’re seriously strapped for cash, you can pick up just a cheap bouncer and skip the expensive swing. Or you can do what I did and get the swing for half price at Once Upon A Child.

  10. formergr says:

    Huh, my sister swears by the Diaper Genie and says it’s the best invention ever– controls odor really well, and is very easy to use and convenient. She lives in France (where they don’t have them), and is always bugging anyone visiting from the States to bring her more refills :)

    In a completely opposite no-frills vein, she doesn’t use wipes at all (much less a wipes warmer). I’m actually starting to theorize it’s a good thing, because the baby has never had diaper rash in the entire year of his life. When I worked at a day care center (a very good and attentive one), I saw diaper rash all the time. I wonder if the solution in the wipes actually makes the skin more sensitive?

  11. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @junkmail: And we walked five miles through the snow to school! Uphill both ways! BAREFOOT!

    Seriously, though, I came up during the last hurrah of the giant metal playground equipment mounted on solid concrete, and you know, I missed that stuff when it left. The neighborhood park had an old-equipment area and one of those newer wood structures with gravel (which probably wouldn’t even met specs nowadays, they’d have to pad all the corners with used tires), and you noticed that when kids had a choice they all preferred the stuff you could break an arm on.

  12. Landru says:

    Aww, go easy on Consumer Reports and the mph. At least somebody is testing this crap.

  13. scoobydoo says:

    @Landru: You mean besides the 1000’s of parents that go gaga over all the crap?

    And yes, I was one of them, before our daughter was born we’d already invested 1000’s in the most useless junk you could possible imagine. And it made us proud :)

  14. SharkJumper says:

    I agree with formergr’s sister. The Diaper Genie is awesome. No odor whatsoever. In fact, I was thinking about all the crap that we bought and trying to decide what I would get if I had a chance to start over. The DG was one of the few things on the short list. I will say that we have the Diaper Genie II. From what I hear, it’s a huge improvement over its predecessor.

    We got a baby swing, but our baby is kind of indifferent about it. His cousin, born about the same time, has a bouncer and loves it. Agree with the above posters about the positioners. I’m having a hard time imagining how baby could even get his face down to it.

    But the one thing that we think has been indispensable for nervous new parents has been the baby monitor we got. It has a sensor that goes under the mattress to detect breathing movement. If movement stops for 30 seconds, an alarm goes off. We knew several parents that were pretty much spending all their time with their first babies checking to see if they were breathing at night. I don’t work for them or anything, I just think we’ve gotten more sleep because of this thing.

  15. superlayne says:

    That woman just sounds so condescending. I feel disrespected as a person.

    On another note, get both, you kind of need them. Swings to put your baby to sleep, bouncers for them to play in. They’re not the same thing.

    In an unrelated note, I had bumpers and I didn’t suffocate.

  16. etinterrapax says:

    Bottom line, really, is to get what you need, and nothing more. That makes it hard to register or buy things ahead of time, but it saves you buying a lot of things you turn out not to use. I did without a swing or sleep positioner, put him down on his back until he turned himself over to sleep, then gave in and let him sleep how he liked (he’s still a tummy sleeper). He was always a good sleeper; I was lucky. I got a bouncy chair at my shower, and it was good, but not a panacea. Never had a wipe warmer. It was summer when he was small, and the heat up there could set a kettle boiling as it was.

    I didn’t hesitate to buy things that I came to think would make my life easier–hello, Jumperoo–but for once, my latent ignorance about babies paid off. I worried about SIDS until I realized how heavily the odds were against his having it. You don’t take unnecessary risks, but you work to eliminate all of them at the cost of your sanity.

  17. krazykirk says:

    We had a rep from the Sids Kids foundation thingy come talk to us in our Life Development, and we learnt how to “Sleep” a baby, and all it pretty much involves is get rid of all the frilly crap from the sides, and just tuck the baby into the bed with a blanket and don’t use a pillow. It’s pretty simple when you think about it. And make sure the bars are narrow enough so the baby’s head can’t fit though it… etc so it’s mostly common sense, but they could be fogotten in the excitment of a new baby!

  18. MarvinMar says:

    As a parent of 13 month old Twins, I disagree with most of what she was saying.

    Sleepsacks: We used sleepsacks only. I was soo paranoid of anything being in the crib at all.

    Sleep Positioners: We used the sleep positioners, properly adjusted, and at their waists.
    Never had any problems at all. (2 cribs as well)

    Bouncy Seats: We used bouncy seats. The only issue was one day we had the bouncy seat on the kitched island, I looked over, and my daughter was about to fall off because she had leaned over sideways enough to tip it. They were banned at that point as being past their usefull stage.

    Swings: We bought an ocean wonders Swing, that can rock front to back, or dise to side.
    We also got a 2nd hand-me-down swing that was front to back only.
    Whoever was swinging side to side would sleep for hours. The baby swinging front to back was usualy awake every 30 minutes or so.

    The front to back swing also met an early BOOT when they were big enough to reach out and touch the swing supports. Their arms could get hit by them.

    Diaper Pails: We tried the Diper Genie, we picked it up and the salvation army for $.200, with a full set of bags too :)
    It sucked. Did not control oder at all.
    Also a pain to reach in and twist the diper properly.

    We got a second version, the Diaper Champ.
    Uses regualr grocery bags, easy to drop diaper in and flip the handle over.
    Still got stinky though.
    We got got rid of it last week because my son will stand there and flip the handle back and forth forever. :)

    Bath seats: We got one from my aunt. (Hand-me-down)
    Used it once. The suction cups dont stick well, the thing is always floating.
    They can also get out of it pretty easy.
    So I just always took a bath with them.
    We now but in a bathmat to help with traction, that helps alot.
    But I still wont leave them alone for a second.

    Wipe Warmers: We have 2.
    As the person earlier stated. If your wipes arnt right next to your baby, your doing it all wrong.
    We just stoped using it last week also.
    We had been at Disney World for 2 weeks, and figured they were used to cold wipes now. :P

    The biggest issue I have is with cribs.
    Who thought it was a great idea to make all baby cribs slatted?
    There have been many times where one og the babys would start crying, and we would wait 10 minutes or so for them to fall asleep, only to go in and see and arm or leg (Or 2) stuck in the freakin bars.
    They should make the slats WAY closer together or put pank-n-play type neting on the inside or something. Just this morning my son was awake, not crying, but sitting there with both legs stuck in the bars.

    As far as what she says about “Cribs are federally regulated and manufacturers must also follow voluntary safety standards.”
    Just do a recal search. Tons of cribs are recalled, and it doesn’t matter if it was $99 or $799 Do your research.

    I check here often.