URGENT: Sleep Positioners Banned By Retailers After Infant Deaths!

Mothercare, Tesco, John Lewis and Ebay have all taken baby sleep positioners off sale as it has emerged that at least 12 babies have been reported by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to have died due to their use in the US.

Which infant sleep aids have been banned by UK retailers? From looking at the retailer websites, all brands and models of baby sleep positioners sold by these retailers have been taken off sale as a precautionary measure.

Please note: the feature image shows examples of sleep positioners – these may not necessarily be the ones involved in the deaths HOWEVER all brands of sleep positioners have been removed from sale by the 4 retailers in question regardless of this.

Why aren’t baby sleep positioners considered safe?

Some of these products undermine the ‘Back To Sleep‘ message – a baby is safest on their back on a firm mattress unless specifically advised otherwise by a professional due to a specific medical condition.

A safe cot is an empty cot – these sleep positioners pose a suffocation risk REGARDLESS OF BABY’S AGE OR MOBILITY. Babies have been turning over and smothering themselves as they’ve become unable to turn into a safer position.

Babies can surprise parents by randomly rolling unexpectedly and early! I watched, with utter disbelief, my own son rolling at 2 weeks old. He couldn’t roll back onto his back so god help us if he had done this in a sleep positioner when we were in bed!

If a baby cannot roll, that does not stop them from turning their faces into the sides of the positioner during sleep and still potentially smothering themselves.

Some of the positioners are also designed as such that proper air flow to baby would be impeded which can also raise baby’s core temperature – both of these are factors in SIDS.

These sleep positioners are also not tested or approved for safe overnight (therefore unsupervised) sleep which often isn’t particularly clear – these products are sold to be used when a baby sleeps therefore parents may assume they can be used overnight too.

Some examples of sleep positioners – click for BBC source!

The Lullaby Trust and NHS Safe Sleep Information

  • Flat, firm mattress
  • Grobag or cellular blanket
  • Nothing in the cot; pods, bumpers, teddies, positioners etc
  • Feet to foot of crib/cot
  • No pillow or quilt until at least the age of 1

You can read the NHS safe sleep advice here, and The Lullaby Trust safe sleep advice here!

So what about sleep pods?

This debacle has raised some really interesting questions about sleep pods such as the Sleepyhead and the PureFlo…

  • They’re advised against by the NHS and The Lullaby Trust. Even with ‘comprehensive breathability testing’ they still pose a hazard – a safe cot is an empty cot.
  • The Sleepyhead instructions contradict their marketing. They’re sold as safe for overnight sleep due to being ‘safe sleep licensed’ yet the instructions clearly state not for unsupervised use. Unless parents don’t sleep at night like vampires, overnight sleep absolutely is not supervised which is in direct contradiction with their marketing line.

However, until there is any official announcement about sleep pods, parents should make an informed decision whether to continue using them and be aware that they have not been removed from sale.


I hope that this helps parents to make informed choices about what products they are using!

Parents will undoubtedly say they’ve used these products and their children have been ‘fine’ but evidently this doesn’t mean that sleep positioners are safe!

Looking for information on safe sleep? Check out our posts on Safer Sleep Week 2018 and helping your baby to sleep safely in hot weather.