Never Put a Baby to Sleep on an Air Mattress

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents and other adults this holiday season, and around the year, not to place an infant to sleep on an air mattress.

As many travel and/or have guests during the holidays, the CPSC wants to be sure that people are aware of the risks associated with air mattresses and babies. Air mattresses are commonly used in travel-type conditions are often associated with the holidays.

A baby placed on an air mattress to sleep could suffocate, causing death to the infant. This can occur for various reasons associated with air mattresses.

Due to the softness of an air mattress, along with soft bedding and other issues, an air mattress (or other soft sleeping areas) is not safe for an infant. Always bring along a safe sleeping area for your baby when you travel. Portable playpens and play yards are suitable for this, providing they meet safety guidelines for sleeping.

The CPSC reports 16 tragic deaths have occurred due to air mattresses since 2002. Most of these occurred in infants less than 8 months of age. 11 of those children suffocated from being in a face-down position on the air mattress. 5 of them died from being trapped in between bed slats and an air mattress or between a nearby piece of furniture or wall and an air mattress.

The CPSC warns that air mattresses should be used only for adults and older children. Even if an air mattress is inflated properly, it is still usually too soft for an infant to keep their airway clear. Under-inflating an air mattress or leaks in air mattresses are also a problem.

Safe sleeping tips for an infant have been recommended by the CPSC, and are as follows:

  • Always place a baby on the back to sleep for help in preventing SIDS.
  • Infants should not be placed on an adult bed or mattress for sleeping. This can cause suffocation from the bed or bedding and can also cause entrapment and/or suffocation in between the mattress and bed frame or the mattress and wall.
  • Be sure any baby crib used meets all safety standards and has a firm mattress that fits tightly and has a tightly-fitted sheet.
  • Only use mattresses specifically designed by the manufacturer for your child’s portable crib, playpen, or play yard. Never use a mattress or pad that is not designed specifically for your product.

Extra tips from the author:

  • Be sure to keep up with the latest information and guidelines with the CPSC at
  • Always register any baby product with the manufacturer to be sure you are alerted of any defects or recalls that may happen in the future.
  • Frequently check with the CPSC and with the manufacturer to be sure your child’s products have not been recalled.