Concerns About Weighted Sleepwear for Babies

Insight into why major retailers are choosing to remove weighted sleepwear for babies from their stores, following concerns raised by authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When sleepless nights are your new normal as a result of a restless baby, any product that purports to soothe your infant and aid in his or her sleep seems like a godsend. This is the reason many parents have found themselves purchasing or registering for weighted swaddles and sleep sacks in previous years. However, recent actions by Amazon, Target and Babylist have highlighted a growing concern about these products. These retailers have decided to withdraw these infant accessories from their sites almost a year after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested a prohibition of these potentially hazardous items. The AAP first raised a red flag about these products in June of the previous year. Pointing out significant safety considerations, they declared that existing research is insufficient to substantiate claims that these products are both effective and safe. The AAP called on regulators to sidestep a recurrence of the tragic infant fatalities previously linked with inclined sleepers and other unsafe sleeping products. Acting on these concerns, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also advised parents to abstain from using weighted sleep sacks and swaddles. They were supported in issuing this admonition by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who have similarly counselled caregivers to avoid these products. Despite these warnings from various authoritative bodies, many retailers continued to stock these products, up until recently. Amazon took the lead this month, sending out letters to parents who have purchased these items, cautioning them about the potential risks and updating its guidance to sellers. In their communication, Amazon clarified that they were to cease stocking weighted infant sleep products from April 9, 2024, in the interest of safety. They emphasised their commitment to ensuring that their store only carried items deemed to be safe and promised ongoing scrutiny to address unsafe and nonconforming products. Consumer Reports also confirmed that both Target and Babylist have resolved to remove weighted sleep sacks and swaddles from their stores and websites. Many parents may find themselves in the situation of already having one of these products or considering their purchase. In light of the growing concerns about their safety, both AAP and CPSC advise against their use but have yet to create an official definition of what constitutes a weighted sleep sack or swaddle. Generally, these products contain sewn-in beads or weights designed to exert mild pressure on a baby's body. Various brands, including Dreamland Baby and Nested Bean, have claimed that their weighted products aid in inducing quicker, longer sleep in babies. Small-scale studies have indicated that weighted blankets may promote better sleep in adults and older children. However, there is currently no data supporting their use in infants. Concerns in regard to weighted sleep products emanate from the lack of unequivocal scientific evidence demonstrating their safety and efficacy. Further, the AAP has suggested that these products could potentially increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). According to Dr. Daniel Ganjian, weighted sleep sacks may restrict a baby's ability to move their arms and legs freely and potentially inhibit their ability to roll over, a natural and critical developmental stage in babies as young as two months old. Consequently, he advises that if you already own a weighted sleep sack, the safest option is to discontinue its use. For parents who purchased on Amazon, you might want to check your inbox. Notifications were sent out to parents that had previously purchased the weighted infant sleep sacks, advising them not to use them for children under age three. Although Amazon isn't offering refunds, they are accepting returns of the products.