Pediatric Experts Are Calling for More Research into the Safety of Weighted Swaddles & Sleep Sacks for Babies

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is once again sounding the alarm on weighted swaddles and weighted sleep sacks for babies. Their safe sleep guidelines — which help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) — discourage the use of weighted sleepwear, and now the association is hoping others will study the products’ safety too.

The AAP sent a letter to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ASTM International this month saying the potentially fatal products could hypothetically make it harder for babies to wake up in response to hazards like a lack of oxygen. There is currently no definitive peer-reviewed research surrounding the products.

In a preliminary, inconclusive study commissioned by Nested Bean — a top retailer of weighted sleep products for babies (the other being Dreamland Baby) — researchers found that the products were associated with reductions in oxygen saturation levels in the five infants who were involved in the study. The tests were only conducted for two minutes, which concerns Dr. Rachel Moon, MD chair of the AAP’s task force on SIDS.

“It’s not the level, it’s the trend I’m worried about,” Dr. Moon said. “Why didn’t they let it go more than two minutes? You’d want to know what’s happening over 30 minutes, two hours.”

In their letter, the AAP said that parents expect that products on the market at reputable retailers are safe. And so, they encouraged the CPSC and ASTM International to take “a precautionary approach” to weighted swaddles and weighted sleep sacks “to avoid a repeat of what happened with inclined sleepers, in-bed sleepers, and other novel sleep-related products.”

“These products ultimately were associated with over 100 infants’ deaths—all of which would have been prevented if these products were not kept on the consumer market,” the letter said. “Waiting for the emergence of confirmatory data about these concerns while these products proliferate is an unacceptable outcome when each of those data points will be a family whose lives are forever marked by unfathomable tragedy of their infant dying from a sleep-related death.”

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