Taking care of infants demands a lot of patience and a keen watch. Sometimes, things that seem necessary for these little humans can end up causing harm to them. Head-shaping pillows are one such thing that can be fatal. These pillows have caused suffocation and killed infants when parents are not around to look for the position the child is sleeping. The FDA cautions parents about the negative effects of these pillows and how they might cause a child to suffocate and ultimately die.

Are head-shaping pillows safe for babies?

The pillows believed to have good impacts on the child are not good nor safe around infants. The recommended position for infants to sleep is on their backs in an empty crib. The infant sleeping on pillows or around them can cause suffocation when the child rolls around and sleeps on their face, pressing against the pillow. The head-shaping cushions are not FDA-approved, and there is no proof to substantiate their effectiveness. 

Flat head syndrome and head-shaping pillows

Infants have very delicate and soft skulls and bones, so there are chances for children to have flat heads as they lay at the same angle for longer durations. The pressure with which children lay may cause the skull to flatten. Head-shaping pillows are trusted to rectify this, but there is no clinical proof. The condition with the shape of the skull will turn back to normal once the child starts growing. If the shape of the head is still deformed, visit a healthcare provider. 

Harmful effects of head-shaping pillows

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is the leading cause of injury death in infancy.” Shaping pillows can contribute to sudden death, where medical conditions or ailments will not be a concern. But, suffocation which infant head pillow causes, can be the reason. The Academy also states, “Sleep is a big challenge for families with babies, but following safe sleep recommendations can prevent many SUID fatalities.”

Safe sleep for infants

The ABC of an infant sleeping is recommended and considered to be the safest. The ABC stands for:

A- ALONE: Putting the baby to sleep in the nursery or the crib alone, without any stuffed toys, pillows, or blankets, is the safest option. 

B- On the BACK: The baby sleeping on its back is the safest, as the breathing pattern will not have an impact. There are lesser chances of suffocation, reducing the risk of SUIDs. 

C- CRIB: The child should be put to sleep in a crib, with the child alone and laid on the back. 

There are no FDA-approved flathead pillows available in the market. Parents should consider the comfort and well-being of their children while purchasing such pillows.  

The infant head pillow causes ill effects rather than leading to any benefits. No evidence shows baby head-shaping pillows are safe for infants. Please follow the guidelines and precautions by the FDA and consult a healthcare professional if you suspect flat head syndrome instead of using such products.