Are Sleeping Hammocks Safe for Babies? Adults know the comfort and ease that a hammock provides for resting and deep sleeping. In fact, this is evidenced by many hammock users and published scientific articles. It provides several benefits like inducing deep and longer sleep, more concentration when reading, and many more. This is why some parents think that hammocks, in general, are a better alternative for crib or bed for babies.
However, others acclaimed that sleeping hammocks are not guaranteed safe. This is backed up by statements from parents who claimed that sleeping in hammocks can result in different accidents. Babies are stated to have fallen out, to have suffocated and trapped in hammocks. Not only parents agree to the bad effects of hammocks, but also the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which provided a statement that hammocks caused babies suffocation. We talked to Jared Miller from Royalhammockheadquarters.com and got some insightful information for this article!
Sleeping Hammocks in the United States are often used by parents but the risks it imposes to infants and babies have been oftentimes mentioned by experts. According to Eva Klein, a certified infant and child sleep consultant, there is no enough research to prove that hammocks are completely safe for babies. Another consultant added that hammocks are generally untested in a scientific method, so there is no guarantee of how safe these products are.
However, other researchers, as well as parents, claim that hammock does not impose a threat but even provides a good benefit when it comes to making the babies sleep soundly. According to a parent testimony, after the first time she placed the baby in the hammock for a daytime nap, the baby slept soundly within two hours, in contrast to letting the baby sleep on the mattress where the baby would always have more time to be conditioned to sleep.
What does the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Recommend?
There are over 3000 babies in the United States who die suddenly every year while sleeping. These sudden deaths are unexpected and always go undetected. This is because of the common case called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or known as SIDS. The babies experience this when they have accidental deaths due to strangulation or suffocation. To help lessen these deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its policy statement and technical reports.
According to them, babies should sleep on their backs whether for naps or sleeping at night. This also includes babies who have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). This suggestion is in contrast to some claims that hammocks are better for babies who have GERD because of its structure. While it is true that hammocks provide more comfort and are deemed more ideal, the AAP does not recommend the use of hammocks until the baby reaches one year old.
In connection with AAP’s statement of babies sleeping on their backs in all types of sleep, they also recommend using a firm sleep surface for babies. Contrary to some personal claims by mommies online that hammocks are better than cribs, it turned out that the crib meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) among other sleeping facilities like a bassinet, play yard, and portable crib. However, not all products are safe to use. The AAP recommends the use of these products provided that these come with a firm mattress, tight-fitting and fitted sheets.
A firm surface is further elaborated by the AAP. They said that a firm surface is characterized by a surface that does not indent when the baby is lying on it, very much dissimilar to a hammock. They can also use bedside sleepers that meet the CPSC safety standards.
The AAP provided summarized guidelines on how babies should sleep. It is called the ABC’s of Safe Sleep.
- A – Alone. This means that babies need to sleep alone every time they sleep. This is a result of a study of the AAP which shows that if babies share beds with parents, it increases the chance of SIDS.
- B – Back. This means that babies need to sleep on their backs. This is a suggestion created by the AAP since 1992, and it has not changed over the years. Lying on their back decreases the chance of SIDS as babies are less prone to suffocate on objects or even on their own gases when they sleep on their back
- C – Crib. AAP recommends babies to be put on cribs. Cribs have a firm mattress with fitted sheets and babies are less likely to roll over and suffocate on other objects such as stuffed toys,s, pads, pillows, blankets, etc..
Other’s Take on SIDS and Hammock Sleeping
According to Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center in California, hammocks do not provide the firm surface recommended by the AAP. Furthermore, hammocks can entrap the babies inside when it rolls, which may cause an obstruction in breathing.
In addition to this, there is no medical expert that endorses hammocks or any soft and malleable sleeping surfaces for babies.
However, others believe that there are hammock brands that might answer these problems. According to Brimelow, in other brands of a hammock, there has been no reported incident of SIDS. She mentioned that it is highly dependent on the structural design of the hammock. Some brands with well-engineered hammocks have safely tested their products to avoid some unnecessary injuries.
In conclusion to the above-stated arguments and testimonies coming from parents, experts, and even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a hammock is generally not safe for children one year and below. Although some brands might provide more comfort and better structural design that decreases the chance of SIDS, and despite the claims of many parents who believe that hammocks do not impose risks to their babies, and instead claimed the benefits of hammocks on sleep, there is no sufficient number of literature that can prove this claim in a scientific method. A hammock is generally safe when the babies are one year and above. However, when babies are still newborn or below one year, they are prone to experience SIDS, and firm and flat surface is ideal to prevent this.
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Are Sleeping Hammocks Safe for Babies?
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