Man invents device to help prevent infant death while babies sleep

The Crescent Womb Safety Bed suspends infants in mesh.
The Crescent Womb Safety Bed suspends infants in mesh.

A sleeping baby is a beautiful thing.

James Spencer invented a device he says will help both babies and their parents sleep more soundly, particularly during the first months of sleepless nights.

The Crescent Womb Infant Safety Bed is a hammock made of mesh that is attached to the side of a baby’s crib. Newborns are placed in the center of the device, where they are suspended as it conforms to their body and allows the baby to curl into the fetal position. Spencer said it is the closest thing to allowing a child to sleep in its parents’ arms.

“I wanted to sleep soundly and I wanted my daughter to sleep safely so I began searching for something that would let her thrive and grow,” Spencer said in a Kickstarter video advertising his product.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3,500 cases of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death in the U.S. each year. Of those, 1,500 are cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or infant deaths that cannot be attributed to any cause. Twenty-five percent of the sudden unexpected deaths are caused by accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

“My goal with Crescent Womb was to improve not only the sleeping and safety but also the general health of newborns as they develop,” Spencer said.

A study published this month by the American Academy of Pediatrics analyzing the sleep environment of 160 1-month-olds found that 91 percent “had loose or non-approved items in the bed with them.” Researchers placed cameras in participants’ homes to record behavior and found 21 percent were placed on “non-recommended” sleep surfaces and 14 percent weren’t put to sleep on their backs.

“Our data show that most parents, even when they were aware of being recorded, placed their infants in sleep environments with established risk factors for sleep-related infant deaths,” the study said. “In addition, infants being moved in the middle of the night were often moved to more unsafe sleep environments than where they began the night.”

The Crescent Womb Kickstarter page says the product has been tested to meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards and Spencer said he worked on the prototype for nearly two years after talking to moms and medical professionals. According to the Crescent Womb website, babies should transition out of the device around six months, or when they begin to sit up unassisted, roll over and start to crawl.

The Kickstarter campaign blew past its $30,000 goal, raising over $100,000 as of Thursday afternoon.