What Pediatricians Say About Popular Baby Products

  • Caucasian couple holding baby
    New Guidelines for New Parents
    You may see them on store shelves (and your parents may have even used them), but it doesn’t mean all baby products out there are entirely safe or good for your child’s health. You may be surprised to learn what pediatricians and other experts are saying about some popular baby products today.

  • Lovely Baby Wondering
    Baby Walkers
    Because of the mobility they allow, baby walkers can cause serious injuries—from tripping and falling, to trapped fingers and burning, even poisoning if a baby reaches for a dangerous product. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on such products. Research also suggests that the use of a baby walker can actually delay when a baby begins to sit, crawl or walk unassisted, as well as slow a baby's mental and motor development. Instead, try a stationary activity center, play yard or playpen (with limited use) as your baby learns to sit, crawl and stand.

  • New born baby sleeping in crib
    Blankets or Pillows in the Crib
    Nearly half of infant crib deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported each year are suffocations caused by pillows, thick quilts, or overcrowding in the baby’s sleeping space, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A safe crib is one that’s clear of clutter: no pillows, heavy quilts, thick blankets, large or pillow-like stuffed toys, child-carrying devices, recliners or sleep positioners. Instead, dress your baby in warm clothes, such as footed pajamas or a sleep sack, to keep him warm at night.

  • closeup of empty crib
    Drop-side Cribs
    Drop-side cribs were banned by the CPSC in 2011 due to the fact that the moveable side can break, creating a gap between the crib and mattress where a baby can suffocate or be strangled. The cribs were associated with at least 32 deaths since 2000, plus hundreds of other reported incidents. Look for a newer crib model (after 2011) that has fixed sides and a simple design, with no fancy embellishments that can catch your baby’s clothes.

  • High angle view of baby sleeping in crib
    Crib Bumpers
    Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation against the use of crib bumpers, the demand for them remains high, along with public perception that they are safe. But a paper in the Journal of Pediatrics argued that crib bumpers are potentially deadlier than any other common items found in a crib, such as blankets and stuffed animals. And a study in the Journal found 77 deaths nationwide attributed to crib bumpers from 1985 through 2012, calling for a nationwide ban on the sale of the crib product. Instead, safety experts recommend a bare crib with just a fitted sheet.

  • Beautiful woman chooses child rompers
    Used Baby Products
    In an effort to go green and save money, you may be considering a used crib or car seat for your little one. While this is an excellent idea for items like clothing and books, experts recommend sticking to new models when buying cribs, car seats, strollers—even toys, since it’s difficult to tell if there is lead paint in a used toy. More rigorous durability testing and crash protection, as well as continuous improvements, make the newer, top-performing models a safer option.

  • Mother with baby son (12-17 months) sleeping
    Bedside Sleepers
    Though there are currently no safety regulations for bedside sleepers, or “co-sleepers,” many experts don’t recommend them (or co-sleeping in general) due to the risk of suffocation or of sleeping parents rolling onto their babies. A full-sized crib with fixed sides is always a safer option.

  • Mother holding sleeping baby boy in sling
    Sling Carriers
    You’ve heard carrying your baby close to your body will keep her feeling comfortable and secure, especially just after birth, but sling-type carriers run the risk of suffocation. They can also lead to injuries—such as skull fractures, head trauma, and cuts and bruises—if the baby falls out of the sling. Better options include strollers, handheld baby carriers or car seats, and some strap-on carriers, such as a Baby Bjorn. Soft-front carriers and backpack carriers are an option covered by American Society for Testing and Materials International safety standards. Whichever option you choose, always practice using any carrier before putting your baby in.

  • Close up of baby with pink pacifier
    Because babies have a strong sucking reflux, a pacifier can have a soothing effect on a fussy baby (who hasn’t found a finger to suck on) and may help her fall asleep. But while they often have calming benefits, and may even reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) when used at nap time and bedtime, pacifiers might increase the risk of middle ear infections, and prolonged use may lead to dental problems, according to experts. Research also suggests that early use of artificial nipples may affect how long a baby breastfeeds and decrease rates of exclusive breastfeeding, which can affect the mother’s milk supply.

What Pediatricians Say About Popular Baby Products

About The Author

Susan Fishman is a veteran freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience in consumer and patient education. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, and on numerous other national health, wellness and parenting sites. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling at Georgia State University.

  1. Citing Multiple Deaths, Study Calls for Banning Crib Bumpers. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/citing-multiple-deaths-study-calls-for-banning-crib-bumpers...

  2. Safe Sleep: Bedding, Pillows, Safety and More. On Safety. CPSC.gov. http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2012/09/18/safe-sleep-bedding-pillows-safety-and-more/

  3. The New Crib Standard: Questions and Answers. On Safety. CPSC.gov. http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2011/06/14/the-new-crib-standard-questions-and-answers/

  4. 13 Dangerous Baby Products to Avoid. Consumer Reports. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/13-dangerous-baby-products-to-avoid/index.htm

  5. Are used baby products safe? Consumer Reports. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/09/are-used-baby-products-safe/index.htm

  6. How Does JPMA Help Consumers? Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. http://www.jpma.org/?page=consumer_education

  7. Pacifiers: Are they good for your baby? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/pacifiers/art-2004814...

  8. Pacifiers: Yes or No? La Leche League International. http://www.llli.org/nb/nbnovdec95p172.html

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Last Review Date: 2020 Feb 21
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