Posted on: April 11, 2024 Posted by: Christina Bronner Comments: 0

Sleep Safety for Babies and Racial Health Disparities in Baby Sleep Products’ Safety


Nychelle Fleming, of the Office of Communication for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, spoke with Tara Merchant, the Upscale Magazine Northeast Bureau Chief, to discuss Sleep Safety for Babies and racial health disparities in baby sleep products’ safety.


UPSCALE: What does the Consumer Product Safety Commission know overall, about the sleep safety conditions of babies, and especially Black babies?

Nychelle Fleming: Too many babies die from preventable situations and if their parents could adhere to some of these practices of the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends, more of these babies would be saved.


UPSCALE: What does the latest Consumer Product Safety Commission data reveal, about how sleep environments can become unsafe for babies? 

Nychelle Fleming: What is a safe sleep environment for an adult is not the same for babies. Particularly, with regard to multiple pillows: adults like to load up on extra pillows and extra bedding in general but that can be extremely dangerous for babies, who cannot self-correct and move their heads or themselves, safely out of harm. And always, using only products that are specifically intended for a baby sleeping, is critically important. A specific sleep product like a crib or a playyard, with no extra blankets or pillows, is safest. Besides products, placing your baby on their back is the safest way to make them sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

UPSCALE: What should parents be aware of when they are buying sleep products for their baby, that will keep them most safe?  

Nychelle Fleming: Parents should be most aware that a baby sleep product only and exclusively should be used. Cuddling up with a baby in bed or in a recliner, is completely dangerous as well. Parents have fatally rolled on their babies or released them from their hands after falling asleep in a chair, accidentally. And also, parents need to remember that more bedding decor is not more-love, and less bedding decor clutter is not equal to less-love. These extra bumpers and blankets and other bedding accessories are actually hazards and parents need to steer clear of them. 


UPSCALE: Why do babies of certain ethnicities, experience sleep-unsafety issues and even deaths, more than other babies? 

Nychelle Fleming: Data shows that 160 sleep product-related deaths happen to babies each year, and about 30% of those are Black babies. However, since Blacks are only 16% of the population, that 30% of deaths reported is just too high. And while parents definitely need this information, other family members and nannies, and other care givers, neighbors and friends that care for our babies, need to have this critical information. 


UPSCALE: Is there a website where we can go to learn more about the work of the Commission and new facts they are uncovering year-round, to keep us all and our babies safe?

Nychelle Fleming: You can visit to learn more