How many family members can you fit in one hotel room, perhaps on the way to a beach vacation? Many families who travel together have discovered the simplicity and convenience of traveling with portable air mattresses for their kids to sleep on. Spread it out, fill it up with an air pump, and a (relatively) comfortable sleep space is created. But air mattresses aren’t for every child. A new study warns that blow-up air mattresses are especially dangerous for infants to sleep on, reports Robert Preidt:

But these beds carry significant risks for infants, including the possibility of death, according to the study authors.

“Even when fully inflated, air mattresses can mold to the infant’s face and obstruct the airway by forming an occlusive seal,” wrote researchers Jennifer Doering, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Trina Salm Ward, from the University of Georgia.

“The risk increases when air mattresses leak during use. Underinflation was a factor in some of the infant deaths reviewed,” they added.

There were 108 infant deaths involving air mattresses reported in 24 states between 2004 and 2015, according to the U.S. National Child Death Review Case Reporting System. But the researchers said such deaths are probably underreported. There’s no specific box to check to mark a death as related to an air mattress, the study authors explained.


A Pack ‘n Play may be more cumbersome to tote along but is certainly safer for traveling infants.


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