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Should Pillows Be Used for Props or Comfort of Infants During Sleep Time? (Answer: NO)

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


Infants are at risk for suffocation and asphyixation when they are put to bed with pillows, loose blankets, and / or stuffed animals. If you ask most parents if they would put a plastic bag or a sheet of plastic in a crib with an infant, most parents will say that is ridiculuous and reckless in that it puts the child at risk for suffocation. Clearly, it would be a rare occurence for a parent, day care center, or other child care provider to put an infant to bed with a sheet of plastic or a plastic bag for these very reasons. However, many parents and child care providers fail to recognize the risk associated with blanets, pillows, and stuffed animals in the crib or sleeping area of a child. In fact, some blankets and pillows have cartoon characters on them and seem like a good, soft environment for a child to sleep on or near. The very problem with these items are the softness which can quickly turn into a trap if an infant becomes face down or in contact with the soft items to the point that breathing is cut off and / or drastically affected. It was recently reported in Arkansas that an infant died after she was put to sleep near two pillows. It was reported that the infant rolled over and ultimately suffocated. The mother was out of the room for a short period of time. This incident is one of many that unfortunately take place when a child is in a crib or sleeping area near soft objects.

It seems like such a common sense thing to do (make a child comfortable with some soft objects); however, as illustrated by above unfortunate death and too many other like it, it is not a good idea at all to have pillows in place at sleep time in the crib or sleeping area.

If a parent has a child in a day care center, a parent should ask to see the policies and procedures regarding sleeping arrangements. A parent should also ask to see the sleeping area and visit the day care center at random times including times when the chld is at sleep. If a parent sees a dangerous condition like an infant sleeping with or near pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals, the parent should asked to speak to the supervisor about the situation. There is an excellent article that is published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the Journal Pediatrics at SIDS and Other Sleep Related Infant Deaths.

If a child is injured at a day care center, summer camp, or by another person, business, or government entity, a parent should contact a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation when necessary. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Shold Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Shopping Center and Mall Related Injurie, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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