It looks inviting - but health educators say the blankets, toys and soft bumpers intended to comfort a baby - actually present suffocation hazards. Clemencia Molina from the New York Sudden Infant and Child Death Center says even positioners and "breathable" crib bumpers sold as safety devices are a bad idea.
"If the baby were to wiggle, it can go into the soft surface like this and it can cause suffocation," said Molina while demonstrating how a baby could get stuck.
It won't win any design contests, but advocates say babies should sleep alone in an empty crib on a firm mattress. Upstate clinical trainer Michelle Jeski understands that families want to make babies comfortable but have to remember that an empty crib is the safest strategy.
"You feel like you need something else in there, you need it to be all decorative and cute. It's a baby - they need lots of fun stuff to play with but you don't want anything in there," said Jeski.
Safe Kids New York and Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital will be distributing thousands of "sleep sacks" starting this week. The sacks give babies extra warmth but are designed so that the fabric can not cover the baby's head.
Nationally, Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) rates are down 50% over the past twenty years after pediatricians recommended babies sleep on their backs. Advocates say everyone in a baby's life needs to keep toys and blankets out of the crib
"We do want to make sure we teach anyone who is caring for the child, daycares, babysitters, grandparents," said Jeski.