The danger of freely rocking cradles

J Paediatr Child Health. 1995 Feb;31(1):38-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.1995.tb02910.x.


Objective: To assist the Adelaide State Coroner with his inquest into the death of two infants in South Australia, and to assist the Department of Public and Consumer Affairs develop Australian Standards for rocking cradles.

Methodology: A sample of each brand of new cradle commercially available in South Australia was examined. Videotapes were made of 11 healthy infants in rocking cradles to examine how they moved and how they reacted in different positions.

Results: Many cradles had insecure locking pins. Infants in a cradle tilted at 10 degrees greater, face down with the side of the face against the bars, and an aim trapped between the body and bars or through the bars, were unable to obtain a clear airway unless a dummy was in the mouth.

Conclusions: Infants should never be left unattended in freely rocking cradles. Australian Standards should recommend locking pins be bolted into place and that cradles cannot tilt to greater than 5 degrees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Asphyxia / etiology
  • Beds / adverse effects*
  • Equipment Design / standards
  • Equipment Safety
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Equipment / adverse effects*
  • Infant Equipment / standards
  • Movement
  • Nasal Obstruction / etiology
  • Posture*
  • South Australia
  • Videotape Recording