Why Is Inclined Sleep Dangerous for Babies?

Medically Reviewed on 6/4/2022

What is inclined sleep?

Inclined sleep dangerous for babies
An inclined baby sleeper is a type of sleep positioner that inclines between 10-30 degrees.

There’s no sight comparable to seeing your little one having a restful nap! Even the most exhausted parents confess that they look at their baby’s face for hours while they sleep. Sleep is essential for your baby’s physical and psychological development. Parents even try various tricks and accessories to ensure that their baby has enough sleep for their age. Various toys, pillows, and other products are available in the market to decorate your baby’s space claiming to help them stay calm and sleep better. As far as your baby’s sleeping space is considered, experts believe that less is more. Experimenting too much in your baby’s sleeping space may pose certain risks. Around 3,500 babies in the United States die each year because of sleep-related issues. Hence, one must know what to try and what to let go of as far as their baby is concerned.

What is an inclined baby sleeper or sleep positioner?

An inclined baby sleeper is a type of sleep positioner that inclines between 10-30 degrees. Asleep positioner claims to keep the baby in a particular position during sleep. Other sleep positioners include nets, docks, rockers, and nappers.

What are the cons of sleep positioners?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that parents and caregivers must not put babies in sleep positioners, including inclined baby sleepers. These products have caused deaths in infants because of suffocation. Suffocation (struggle to breathe) is more likely when the baby rolls on to their stomach while sleeping in the sleep positioner. Besides deaths, there have been reports about babies who were placed on their backs or sides in positioners being later found in other, dangerous positions within or next to these products.

What are the pros of sleep positioners?

Certain baby positioners claim to prevent conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD; acid reflux), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly). The FDA has never claimed any of these positioners to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS. The FDA recommends that sleep positioners must not be used for babies.


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How can caregivers assure that their baby sleeps safely?

You can help create a safe sleep area for your baby by taking the following steps.

  • Make sure your baby sleeps on their back: Put your baby to sleep on their back all the time. This prevents the risk of choking while the baby sleeps. This includes naps as well. Studies have reported that babies who sleep on their stomachs have a higher risk of SIDS than those who sleep on their backs.
  • A bare crib is the safest crib: Your baby’s sleeping area must be free of any objects including pillows, blankets, toys, and bumper pads. You must not cover your baby’s head or add sheets or blankets to their baby’s crib to keep them cozy during sleep. This can cause suffocation or overheat your baby. Dressing your baby in appropriate clothes such as wearable blankets is safer to protect them from cold. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), soft beddings increase the risk of infant suffocation.
  • Put your baby to sleep on a firm, flat sleep surface (such as a mattress) in a safety-approved crib: Firm sleep surfaces reduce the risk of suffocation and SIDS.
  • Avoid putting your baby to sleep in a separate room: It is advisable to keep your baby’s sleeping area in the same room where you sleep until they are at least 6 months of age or ideally until the baby is 1 year. Keep your baby in a safe crib, bassinet, or other safe sleeping spaces instead of sharing your bed with them to prevent any accidental suffocation or strangulation. Keeping the baby’s sleeping space near you will help you easily monitor or feed the baby.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/4/2022
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Helping Babies Sleep Safely." Sept. 27, 2021. <https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/features/baby-safe-sleep/index.html>.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration. "Do Not Use Infant Sleep Positioners Due to the Risk of Suffocation." Apr. 18, 2019. <https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/do-not-use-infant-sleep-positioners-due-risk-suffocation>.