Posted by Katie Kovaleski on April 23, 2019 in Current Research Findings

Who can tell me what’s wrong with this picture?

Unsafe advertising has become an epidemic the in the pediatric sleep world. What does that mean in laymen’s terms? It means the public has become desensitized to images that product manufacturers use to sell their baby products; leaving parents more and more likely to place their babies in unsafe sleep environments just like those shown on packaging and in advertisements.

Take the above image for example – this is a heinously unsafe sleep
environment. It may appear cute and cuddly to an uninformed consumer but to those of us who have had safe sleep training – the situation this image depicts is a death trap and should be utterly unacceptable to anyone who has anything to do with baby products.

The product description on the website includes this snippet:

“Big stuffed animals like elephants, are seen by infants aged 6 months and above as friends. They help the baby develop social and communication skills. Give your bundle of joy a comforting friend to communicate and sleep with!”

NO CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 12 MONTHS should be sleeping with any type of pillow or stuffed animal. EVER. Infants do not see these as friends, they are obstructions and objects just like these are responsible for thousands of infant deaths each year.

This product totes that it is “Safe for all ages.” And follows up the description with a tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the website page that reads ” * Parents are advised to consult, follow and supervise according to Safety Recommendations for children under 12 months.”

Depicting images of young infants, obviously under the age of 12 months, sleeping on this product, describing it as safe to use for all ages and then throwing in some fine print to cover their bases, while leaving the onus of safety on the consumer, presumably a tired mom or dad, is incorrigible.

This isn’t a matter of opinion – these are empirically based recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, based on years of research and thousands of infant deaths. The guidelines and research are there to keep babies safe and it is incredibly disappointing not to mention irresponsible for any company to promote such incredibly unsafe images.

Parents, please do your due diligence when shopping for baby products. Just because something is on the market does not mean it is safe, we are all way too familiar with that fact in recent weeks as rock n plays underwent a massive recall after so many babies died in them.

We recognize that there is a need for new marketing tactics when it comes to baby products and that there is also a need for more education on safe sleep guidelines. We take both of those things seriously and are creating programs to be able to tackle both of those issues. In the meantime, if you have questions about the safety of a product and whether the guidelines address them, please reach out.

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