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A Letter to Dr. Montgomery on “Private Practice”

Dear Dr. Addison Montgomery,

On last week’s episode of “Private Practice,” we saw that you have a new baby. Congratulations on becoming Henry’s mom! As you’re learning, parenthood is life altering.

You’re clearly a mom who researches and finds the best for her baby, even supplying breast milk from a milk bank. As an obstetrician, however, we would expect you to have researched the latest information about crib safety as well.

Henry's cluttered crib on the ABC TV Show "Private Practice"

This screen grab from "Private Practice" shows baby Henry in his crib

Those blankets and pillows in the crib have to go. Henry doesn’t need the cushioning. His baby needs are different than adult needs like yours. CPSC staff estimates that between 1992 and 2010 there were nearly 700 deaths involving children 12 months and younger related to pillows and cushions. Nearly half of the infant crib deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported to CPSC each year are suffocations from a baby being placed on top of pillows and thick quilts or because of overcrowding in the baby’s sleeping space.

We are disappointed with the lack of research that went into creating Henry’s nursery, so allow us to help. We have a great video here that can teach you about how to put Henry to sleep safely. While you rightly placed Henry on his back, we did a double take through the TV for all the loose blankets and clutter in Henry’s crib.

In Henry’s — or any baby’s crib — bare is best. As a respected obstetrician watched in millions of homes around the country, we expect better.

Henry needs a firm, flat surface and nothing else.

Even though the pillow in the back of Henry’s crib looks small, pillows are a big problem in cribs. Pillows can block babies’ noses and mouths and can cause them to suffocate. On average, there are 32 infant deaths each year on pillows used as a mattress or to prop babies’ heads. The majority of these deaths are to infants in their first three months of life, just like Henry.

We’re guessing that you covered Henry with all those blankets in a well-meaning way, worried about his temperature. If his room is cold, dress him in warm clothes like footie pajamas. Do not use thick blankets. Babies can and do get their faces stuck in thick blankets and suffocate.

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn about how to make Henry’s crib safer for him. We hope he starts sleeping through the night for you soon!

Sincerely,

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Children’s Safe Sleep Team

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/05/a-letter-to-dr-montgomery-on-private-practice/