Following warnings from U.S. authorities over suffocation risks, Israel's Health Ministry has called on parents not to use infant sleep positioners on their sleeping babies.
Some manufacturers advertise the cushion-like products as helping to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS ), stomach disorders and other conditions among infants.
In late September the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission warned parents against using the positioners, citing 12 known cases of infants 1-4 months old suffocating while using them over the last 13 years.
Following the announcement, the Health Ministry's public health division recently issued a call to parents and caretakers in Israel to stop using the products as well.
"There is no proof that using infant sleep positioners prevents SIDS," said authorities at the Health Ministry. On the contrary, they said, "Using them is liable to be dangerous, even fatal."
To reduce the possibility of SIDS, authorities advise parents to lay infants under a year old on their back when putting them to bed, and to avoid placing pillows, sheets or other objects in their cribs. Only safety-certified cribs and hard mattresses should be used, and room temperatures should remain between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius.
When awake, infants should be placed on their stomachs on a hard surface, and remain under constant supervision. Placing babies on their stomachs encourages proper motor development, disruption of which is a leading cause of SIDS.
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