Because we are often asked if crib hammocks are safe, I thought we should show you the research we found about the safety of crib hammocks. Then you can make an informed decision whether you wish to use one.
First thing to know is that crib hammocks do not lead to SIDS.
A randomized controlled study done in 2014 to test whether oxygenation in full term infants aged four to eight weeks old, that slept in a hammock compared to a bassinet, was compromised.
The study found that there was no significant difference in the rate of oxygen desaturation between the babies that slept in a hammock and the babies using a bassinet. They concluded that when a baby hammock is used properly, it did not compromise the upper airways of a sleeping infant.
Use Of Baby Hammocks Around The World
In many South Asiatic countries, babies are sleeping in cloth hammocks hung from ceilings called Palnas. They are made from soft cotton and provide a baby with a snug and secure sleep environment that mimics the womb, and rocks easily, to lull them to sleep.
Since ancient times in India the traditional style of bed for infants was a Ghodiyu. A fabric sling that was used for babies up to one and a half years of age.
In 2015 hospitals in Brazil started using hammocks in neonatal incubators for premature babies. They found the hammocks had a calming effect because they simulate some conditions of a mothers' womb, helping to calm babies and improve their movement.
The Maria Amelia Buarque de Hollanda maternity hospital is one of six maternity hospitals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to have adopted hammocks in incubators for neonatal babies.
Sarah Steinemann, a physiotherapist for children at Maria Amelia Buarque de Hollanda hospital in Rio, recommended the usage of a baby hammock, which has now been adopted for all healthy preemies.
She believes a hammock relieves pressure points on a baby's spine and the back of the head by distributing the baby’s weight uniformly. The hammocks are also calming and nurtures the babies to bring together their hands, and then a corresponding eye-hand-coordination takes place.
The hammocks are used for 1-2 hours a day and the babies are able to move more easily because they lie in a slightly curved position with their little hands and feet folded inwards.
"Yes, by swinging we perform vestibular stimulus, the same sensation the baby has when inside the mother's womb while she is moving. And it calms them down" Says Carolina Pollazon, a physiotherapist in Rio de Janeiro. "What is it we want for these babies, what is the advantage? It's to imitate the mother's womb - since they should still be inside the uterus - by simulating the fetal position," she explains.
Benefits of Crib Hammocks
- Crib Hammocks create a cozy, gentle enclosure for your baby and aids in the transition from the womb.
- Crib Hammocks embrace your baby giving a free floating feeling like a womb does.
- Crib Hammocks have a slight angle that raise the head and soothe a baby with colic or fussiness.
- Crib Hammocks keep babies on their backs, which is the recommended position of the AAP.
Recalls of Baby hammocks
Hammocks are used all around the world for babies to sleep in and to date there have only
Another hammock of similar design from MamaLittleHelper has also been recalled in 2010 because of side to side shifting which could put a baby face down on a soft non-porous material. *NOTE- No children were harmed but were found face down crying.
In 1996 CPSC issued a recall from 10 manufacturers of mini hammocks. (These aren’t crib hammocks) because they were hand made in Mexico of cotton strings woven together and suspended from trees or other structures. They were recalled because they didn’t have spreader bars to keep them open. This can let the hammock to suddenly twist around children’s' necks and strangle them.
One other death was reported with a family using a hammock that was called The Crib Cuddle. It was a yellow hammock of soft terry material with a plush pile center.
Our Conclusion on Baby Hammocks:
In our opinion crib hammocks that have a mesh area where the baby lies are safe, if they are installed properly.
- Proper installation means the straps that buckle to the 4 corners of the crib are taut and checked often to eliminate any stretching from use.
- The center of the crib hammock needs to be made of open mesh to allow for air flow.
- Infants should only sleep in a crib hammock up until the time they can roll or squirm over onto their stomachs. That is typically around 3-5 months old.
- The mattress in the crib should be raised to its maximum height.