1381802_10151812159167819_1196761118_nNBC Chicago Investigates recently interviewed KID Director, Nancy Cowles, about the dangers of supplemental or add-on mattresses for play-yards. Little known to many parents, these add-on mattresses are not held to the strong safety standards created for play-yard manufacturers but are easily available in stores. These mattresses are not manufactured to snugly fit in a play-yard, often leaving dangerous gaps around the edges where a baby can get stuck and suffocate, especially because the mesh side can push away to create a more dangerous gap.

We often assume a product being sold is safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case with supplemental mattresses and several other common children’s products. These products are not necessary, and they are not safe.

To help you discern which products to spend your hard-earned money on, KID has compiled a list of the top 5 products your baby doesn’t need:

  1. Add-on Mattresses: As parents and caregivers, we have to resist the desire to surround our babies with the softest and cushiest sleep environments we can. Focus on what a safe sleep environment looks like by using KID’s Safe Sleep Flyer.
  2. Bumper Pads: These have been associated with infant deaths, including suffocation when the baby’s face is pressed against or trapped under the padding, strangulation or choking on the cords, or even dangerous falls when a child is large enough to use bumpers as a foothold to climb on.
  3. Infant Pillows: Similar to bumper pads, infant pillows in the crib or as a sleep surface provide unnecessary padding and the risk of suffocation.
  4. Walkers: These are responsible for a high number of falls, especially down stairs, as well as allowing a baby to reach things that might be safely out of reach otherwise. Consider a stationary entertainer instead.
  5. Bath Seats: Bath seats give a false sense of security to parents and are susceptible to tipping, putting the baby at risk of drowning. Bathe your baby in a small tub with a minimum amount of water, always keeping within arm’s reach.

While the prevalence of these products is frightening, your best defense is being educated. Sign up for Kids In Danger’s email alerts to stay up-to-date on all the latest news in children’s product safety. You can also check the safety of products on KID’s mobile site as you shop. Finally, for safety reports from real consumers like you, search a product or read the postings on SaferProducts.gov.