Safety concerns over popular baby comfort cushion

The Babocush has been condemned by baby safety organisations and parents online.
The Babocush has been condemned by baby safety organisations and parents online. Photo: Babocush
 

It's the latest baby product to cause online controversy and concern among child safety organisations, with the promotional video attracting more than 10 million hits since being shared on Facebook on January 20. The video has amassed nearly 25,000 comments and more than 170,000 shares at the time of writing.

 
Baby Daniel Settling On The Babocush

Does your baby suffer from colic or reflux?Are you concerned about flat-head syndrome? (My little boy had flattening on the back of his head).Do you struggle to find the time to get anything done or spend time with the rest of the family?Very few parents have enough time in the day for their baby to constantly lie against their chest and many of us struggle to provide a safe and comfortable alternative.The babocush can help in so many way...* relieves the pain and discomfort of colic and reflux* helps your baby avoid flat head syndrome* provides safe and comfortable tummy time* holds your baby just like you do* has vibration and heartbeat sound to simulate the sound of your voice and beat of your heart for extra comfort, reassurance and contentment* gives you back some 'me time' to grab a shower, a cuppa or a family meal together in peace without the stress of listening to your baby scream when you have to set them downThe babocush is ON SALE NOW for £99 Find out more or order from our website at www.babocush.com#baby #babies #adorable #cute #cuddly #cuddle #small #lovely #love #instagood #kid #kids #beautiful #life #sleep #sleeping #children #happy #igbabies #childrenphoto #toddler #instababy #infant #young #photooftheday #sweet #tiny #little #family

Posted by Babocush on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Irish company Babocush states that their product is "designed to hug your baby securely in the perfect position for relieving wind, colic and reflux". It lists many benefits, saying it "[helps create] contented tummy time, relieves wind and colic, soothing vibration and heartbeat, reduces risk of flat-head syndrome and promotes cognitive development."

Customers say its a godsend, and that it leaves their baby happy, calm and soothed. There's a support group for consumers to ask questions and share photos of the product in use - and although the company states that babies should not sleep on the Babocush, many of the photos on the Facebook page from readers showing babies who are happily sleeping on the cushion.

What the experts say

The problem? Babies who sleep on the Babocush are usually left on their stomach. And according to SIDS and Kids safe sleeping guidelines, parents should sleep babies on their backs from birth, not on their tummy or side, and that tummy time should be on the floor and fully supervised.

Jill Green, national manager of SIDS and Kids, explicitly states that whether babies have reflux or not, they should be slept on their backs from birth. "Any retailer, product developer, health professional, fellow parent; anyone who is in contact with new parents has the responsibility to promote safe sleeping guidelines," she says.

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With sleep-deprived parents desperately seeking a break, Ms Green says the temptation is too great, with a product like the Babocush, to leave babies sleeping there once they have been comforted to sleep. The babies asleep on the Babocush run the risk of suffocation as they are face down and potentially unsupervised.

"The international recommendation for reflux is to sleep babies on their backs in a flat bassinet or cot. The safe sleeping guidelines do not change for babies with reflux," says Ms Green.

"With any practice, we think of the benefits and then we think of the hazards. Babies falling asleep on their tummies have much higher risk of SIDS and sleeping accidents. Babies get over reflux; they don't get over SIDS." 

Christine Erskine, executive officer of Kidsafe NSW, agrees. "It's understandable that we will try anything to soothe a little baby, however the use of any device to calm a distressed baby should follow safe sleeping guidelines and a baby should never be left unattended."

Ms Erskine adds, "Another important consideration is the 'wriggle' factor, particularly with an upset baby. It's important that babies can't fall off or the device won't topple over. The latter may result from a curious toddler."

Where to get advice about your baby

Your local Child and Family Health Nurse can assist with calming techniques, or contact SIDS and Kids or Kidsafe for the best ways to keep your child safe and healthy.

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