Researchers are sending out a warning to parents that while air mattresses are convenient, portable, and relatively inexpensive, they can also be deadly for babies.
There were 108 infant deaths involving air mattresses reported in 24 states between 2004 and 2015, according to the U.S. National Child Death Review Case Reporting System. But the researchers said such deaths are probably underreported. There's no specific box to check to mark a death as related to an air mattress, the study authors explained.
"Even when fully inflated, air mattresses can mold to the infant's face and obstruct the airway by forming an occlusive seal," wrote researchers Jennifer Doering, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Trina Salm Ward, from the University of Georgia.
"The risk increases when air mattresses leak during use. Under-inflation was a factor in some of the infant deaths reviewed," they added.
Air mattresses seldom provide a warning label about use with infants. The team checked policy statements from 12 organizations -- including federal agencies and health, consumer and parent groups -- and found that only one mentioned the hazard posed to infants by air mattresses.
Many parents simply do not connect air mattresses with infant deaths. Doering and Ward called for improved data collection and for more public health officials to spread the word about the dangers of using air mattresses for babies to sleep on.
The study was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health.
Story source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20170602/air-mattresses-linked-to-more-than-100-infant-deaths