Positioning babies on their backs for sleep is the most important thing parents can do to reduce the risk of infant sleep death. Traditional infant sleep positioners—like baby nests, pillow loungers, and crib wedges—sound like they are designed to help do just that, but the truth is, traditional infant sleep positioners actually raise a baby’s risk of suffocation.

However, unlike these dangerous products, SNOO features a one-of-a-kind swaddle that clips into the bassinet to keep little ones sleeping safely on their backs. And this groundbreaking sleep positioning innovation earned SNOO De Novo authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)! Here’s what you need to know about sleep positioners, SNOO, and your baby’s safe sleep. (For important safety information visit www.happiestbaby.com/fda)

Are sleep positioners safe for infants?

The products that have long been considered “infant sleep positioners” (think: wedges, nests, pods, and inclined sleepers) feature dangerous bolsters, wedges, or pillows, so if a baby turns their face or partially rolls into one of these plush supports, their weak neck might not be strong enough to lift their heavy head and place it out of danger. Once face down, it can be very hard to breathe. That’s why in 2017, the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both warned parents not to let their babies sleep in these types of infant sleep positioners.

Is SNOO a sleep positioner?

SNOO keeps babies in a safe sleeping position—but it’s not one of the traditional infant sleep positioners that the FDA has warned parents about! In fact, SNOO is the first—and only—FDA-authorized infant supine sleep system that keeps sleeping babies on their backs for all naps and night sleeps. Unlike dangerous infant sleep positioners, SNOO does not have the pillows, cushions, or bolsters that are associated with suffocation deaths. Instead, SNOO features a universally recommended flat, firm sleep surface. Plus, SNOO has its specially designed SNOO Sack, equipped with looped “wings” that slide into the bassinet’s built-in safety clips. This innovative design helps keep babies from rolling to an unsafe position.

SNOO is also different from traditional sleep positioners because it provides continuous swaddling, shushing, and swinging—three out of the 5 S’s proven to calm babies and improve infant sleep. And SNOO automatically responds to infant upsets with sound and motion that activates a baby’s calming reflex, which is their innate “off switch” for crying and “on switch” for sleep.

What makes SNOO safe?

You already know that SNOO is the only medical device to receive De Novo classification from the FDA for its ability to keep sleeping babies safely on their backs, but there’s even more to SNOO’s safety story…

  • SNOO keeps babies in the normal and recommended back position, which is the number one safe-sleep recommendation by all pediatricians and public health authorities in the U.S., including the AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • SNOO does not position babies on their side or stomach, which has shown to raise a baby’s risk of SIDS. (Learn more about the dangers of tummy-sleeping.)

  • SNOO’s features a safety lock, so that SNOO’s gentle all-night motion can never be turned on without first engaging the safety clips.

  • SNOO is the only FDA authorized bassinet that prevents risky rolling.

  • There’s plenty of room between your baby and the sides of the bassinet, which are made of breathable mesh to provide optimal airflow.

  • The SNOO Sacks that come with SNOO are not only breathable, organic cotton, but they’re vented to help reduce your baby’s chance of overheating.

Can newborns sleep at an incline?

Sleeping at an incline is dangerous for all babies! That’s why the AAP recommends a flat (less than a 10-degree angle), firm sleep surface for babies. The reason: Sleeping at an angle of 10 to 30+ degrees can cause a baby’s heavy head to droop down toward their chest. And because a baby’s neck muscles are still developing, they might not be strong enough to lift their head back up, which can potentially cut off an infant’s airflow, leading to suffocation. Plus, babies can roll out of an inclined seat or sleeper and get trapped under them.

Between 2019 and 2020, millions of inclined sleepers were taken off the market because they were linked to at least 92 infant deaths, as well as more than 1,000 other incidents reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC). When the CSPC investigated these slanted sleepers, the commission found that none of the inclined beds or swings they tested were safe for sleep. Even today, after inclined sleepers have been recalled, fatalities continue to be reported. Learn more about the risks of allowing Baby to sleep on an incline. (FYI: If your pediatrician recommends you slightly elevate your baby’s head to help ease a stuffy nose, SNOO Leg Lifters can give SNOO a safe boost of 2.5-degree angle, well under the federally mandated maximum of 10 degrees.)

Are crib wedges safe for babies?

No, crib wedges are not safe for babies, except in rare cases where a baby has a serious condition that the pediatrician feels will be helped by a wedge. In addition to positioning babies at an unsafe incline, crib wedges can cause babies to slide down to the bottom of the crib—putting them in another dangerous sleeping position. Crib wedges may make it easier for babies to roll over, and if a baby does roll, their face can become smushed into the plush material of the crib wedge, blocking their nose and mouth.

Final Thoughts on Infant Sleep Products

There’s nothing more important than a baby’s safety. But when it comes to sleepers, some products have confusing names or tout claims that can make their safety—or lack thereof—unclear.

The bottom line: Babies should sleep in their own crib or bassinet, flat on their backs. They should never sleep in a traditional sleep positioner (such as in a baby nest or pod), an inclined sleeper, or with a crib wedge. SNOO—coupled with a properly secured SNOO Sack—is the only FDA authorized infant sleep product on the market to keep baby safely sleeping on the back… the position that all pediatricians recommend.



  • National Institutes of Health: Research on Back Sleeping And SIDS
  • Food and Drug Administration: Do Not Use Infant Sleep Positioners Due to the Risk of Suffocation
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Health Alerts: Infant sleep positioners, bouncer seats, and more
  • SNOO is Granted FDA De Novo Authorization For Keeping Sleeping Babies Safely Positioned on the Back
  • Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment. Pediatrics. July 2022
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Helping Babies Sleep Safely
  • National Center for Fatality Review & Prevention: Sleep-Related Infant Deaths
  • AAP: Inclined Sleepers, Crib Bumpers & Other Baby Registry Items to Avoid
  • Consumer Reports: New Evidence Shows More Infant Deaths Tied to Inclined Sleepers Than Previously Reported
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission: CPSC Cautions Consumers Not to Use Inclined Infant Sleep Products
  • CPSC: Fisher-Price Reannounces Recall of 4.7 Million Rock ‘n Play Sleepers; At Least Eight Deaths Occurred After Recall
  • CPSC: Kids2 Reannounces Recall of 694,000 Rocking Sleepers; Four Additional Deaths After Recall

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.