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Don't sleep your baby in a rocker or bouncer

Photo: Don't sleep your baby in a rocker or bouncer
There’s lots of attention on the use of baby rockers or bouncers, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this week issuing a warning to parents following reports of products being linked to infants deaths in the United States.

But what actually makes these products unsafe, and why should they never be used for sleep?

Rockers and bouncers are chairs that are designed to allow a baby to either bounce or rock in an inclined position, explains Red Nose Chief Midwife Jane Wiggill.

They keep a baby in an incline position, which can lead to a baby’s airway becoming blocked and reducing airflow.

“When a baby falls asleep in a propped up device such as a rocker, their head can fall forwards, pushing the chin down towards the chest,” Jane explains.

“Babies are also at risk of rolling on to their tummy or side in a rocker, or becoming trapped, which is a suffocation risk.
“These are just some of the reasons why Red Nose’s evidence-based recommendations are to always sleep your baby on their back, in a safe cot, and on a firm and flat surface.”

While parents and caregivers are always reminded to follow the safety warnings and instructions when using rockers and bouncers, Red Nose recommends only using them for supervised play time.

“Rockers and bouncers should never be used unsupervised, and they should never be used for sleeping, or as a substitute for a safe sleep space,” Jane says.

Key points - why rockers and bouncers are unsafe for sleep
  • There are no Australian safety standards
  • The baby is put in an incline position – restricting airflow and blocking airways
  • Babies can roll on to their tummy or side
  • Babies can become trapped

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