Safe Sleep

Mother putting baby to sleep in crib in a sleep sack. Amazon now bans the sale of weighted sleep sac...
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Amazon Bans The Sale Of Weighted Sleep Sacks Amid Infant Safety Concerns

They’re urging customers to discontinue use immediately.

What parent among us hasn’t, in a sleep-deprived daze, thumbed through the products on Amazon Prime that might help you all get a few more Zs at night? Weighted swaddles and sleep sacks have been one of those items for parents in recent years, another registry must-have, with brands promising their iteration will help young babies sleep deeper and longer. But parents who bought weighted sleep products from Amazon began receiving emails about discontinuing their use earlier this week. Now, child safety advocacy groups confirm that Amazon will soon prohibit the sale of weighted sleep products for babies on their platform. (Representatives for Target and Babylist have since told Consumer Reports that they will stop selling them too.)

Amazon has not yet made a formal announcement about this policy change, but they have updated their seller guidelines to reflect it. “Customers have to be confident that they’ll find a selection of safe, reliable, and compliant products on Amazon. We don’t allow the listing or sale of non-compliant or prohibited products. In the interest of safety, weighted infant sleep products are prohibited,” read the new rules. Right now, consumers can still purchase weighted sleep sacks on Amazon, as the platform is still working to remove the now-prohibited products from its site.

“We know they are working on it,” says Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger (KID), an organization that advocates for safer products for infants and children. “KID applauds this action by Amazon to warn current owners of weighted infant sleep products and stop the sale on their site of these items. We urge other retailers to follow suit. Sleep-deprived parents are susceptible to claims of more sleep but should not be in the position of risking their child’s safety unknowingly.”

An email the author received from Amazon about a sleep sack purchased for her toddler.Courtesy of Katie McPherson

Amazon was the first major retailer to restrict how sellers market water beads (like not using pictures of children playing with them in the product listing), Cowles says, but their removal of an infant sleep product from the platform entirely is a first. Safety groups, pediatricians, and parents have grown more concerned in recent years as reports of weighted sleep products causing harm have increased, saying they obstruct infants’ breathing and impair their natural ability to rouse themselves from sleep or roll over, increasing the risk of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). A weighted sleep sack has been linked to one infant’s death. Consumer groups have also expressed concern that the pellets used to add weight to the sleep sacks may spill out and create an aspiration risk for babies.

In June 2023, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a letter to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommending they take a harder look at weighted sleep sacks. The AAP issued updated safe sleep guidance in 2022, in which they caution parents for the first time “that weighted blankets, weighted sleepers, weighted swaddles, or other weighted objects not be placed on or near the sleeping infant.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission also recommends against the use of weighted infant products, though getting a CPSC-issued ban takes time, Cowles says. They have to comb through reports of injuries and determine exactly which products were used and how to understand the sum total of the potential dangers.

In the meantime, safety advocates hope that legislative action may help keep babies safe from weighted sleep products. The same day Amazon’s seller policies changed, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, asking them to investigate the safety claims in advertisements from two weighted infant sleep product manufacturers: Dreamland Baby and Nested Bean. Blumenthal had previously contacted the manufacturers in December 2023 outlining concerns about their products, according to a press release from KID.

If you have weighted sleep sacks at home, Cowles advises parents to “just get rid of it,” even if you are desperate for more sleep and wish to keep using it. “You can either put them somewhere and hold onto them, because there could be a recall coming from CPSC, if you want to see if you can get a refund. Beyond that, yes, try and destroy it in such a way someone else can’t get it and use it, to keep it from moving around the secondhand market.”