With a price tag starting around $20, inflatable beds can be found in many homes today. They take up minimal room when deflated, and serve as comfortable, easy-to-prepare arrangements for guests, kids’ sleepovers, or family movie night. Some people are even choosing to use inflatable mattresses as their everyday beds. They are especially popular with low-income families who have had to find creative and/or inexpensive alternatives to traditional mattresses due to the decline in charities that take such donations because of the widespread bedbug problem. However, the soft, uneven surfaces of inflatable beds are dangerous for babies, and without knowing the dangers of putting a baby to sleep on one, many people are inadvertently placing their children at risk for sudden infant death.
Think about it for a minute, and it makes sense. We’ve been hearing for years how infants should not sleep on their stomachs and should not have quilted bumpers in their cribs. Air mattresses have the potential to act just like crib bumpers — a baby who can’t hold her own head up can accidentally suffocate if she wiggles around. Further, how many times have you sat on an air mattress JUST so the person sitting on the opposite side will bounce up? That’s how easy it would be for someone to accidentally tip a sleeping baby onto her side or stomach.
According to data published in an essay in the American Journal of Public Health, 108 infants died between 2004 and 2015 while sleeping on an air mattress. While that number is much smaller than the recorded number of infant deaths due to accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed in 2015 (approximately 900 infants), it is significant enough to concern regulators (and is likely higher since it is based on data from only 24 states). In 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission started working on safety labels cautioning against using air mattresses with children under 15 months. But, as we all know, warning labels can only take you so far.
Air mattress dangers are not highly visible to the average consumer. Most pediatricians don’t warn parents against putting their babies on an air mattress. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t mention it in their safe sleeping materials. There also isn’t any mention of inflatable mattresses in the “Safe to Sleep” federal education campaign sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Unfortunately, when there isn’t much buzz about something, even when it’s potentially dangerous, many people just opt to continue with what they’ve been told – or in this case, what they haven’t been told. The goal then is public awareness. Get the word out and keep your family safe!
If you have any questions about this topic or if you, or someone you love, has been injured by a product, the GA personal injury attorneys of the Mann Law Firm can review your case and advise you whether you have grounds to seek financial compensation. Call us at (478) 742-3381 or fill out our online form. In addition to cases handled in Macon, we are prepared to handle claims on behalf of clients in Dublin, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and other Georgia communities. We would like to meet with you to discuss your case and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.