Deadly Danger: CPSC Urges Parents To Not Place Infants on Air Mattresses

December 18, 2007
Release Number: 08-137

This is the season when homes fill up with gifts and guests. When traveling, parents may choose alternative sleeping environments for babies. The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning families nationwide that air mattresses are too soft for use with sleeping infants. Never place infants to sleep on air mattresses or other soft surfaces (such as water beds and adult beds), which are not specifically designed or safe for infant use.

Since 2002, CPSC has received reports of 16 tragic deaths, mostly infants younger than 8 months of age who were placed to sleep on air mattresses: 11 suffocated in a face down position on an air mattress and 5 died due to suffocation after falling into gaps between the mattress and bed frame and mattress and adjacent furniture or wall.

Generic twin-, full-, or queen-sized inflatable mattresses are usually intended for adults and older children. Even properly inflated air mattresses are usually too soft for infants to maintain a clear airway. Air leaks and under-inflation also contribute to incidents.

Wherever your baby sleeps should be as safe as possible. CPSC recommends these safe sleeping tips:

- Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS.

- Never place baby to sleep on an adult bed. Infants can suffocate on bedding or can become entrapped between the mattress and bed frame or mattress and wall.

- When using a crib, make sure it meets current safety standards, has a firm, tight-fitting mattress and tight-fitting bottom sheet.

- When using a portable crib or play yard, be sure to use only the mattress or pad provided by the manufacturer.