Often the go-to choice for campers, air beds are a convenient way to sleep on the go or out of the home. They are portable, and all you need to make a mattress is an air pump. There are varying models, sizes and subsequent features one can consider when choosing an air bed, but one thing may buyers aren't aware of is that air beds can be potentially harmful.
Air beds can actually be fatal to sleeping infants and babies. Because air beds are inflated to varying degrees, they can be left in a condition that is too soft or fluffy to safely accommodate an infant. When a baby is placed on the bed, the mattress will curve inward around the child. If the air bed is not filled with enough air, there may be creases or folds in the mattress that a baby can slip into. There, deep in this fold, the baby can be enveloped by the mattress and suffocate to death.
Even if the air mattress is filled with enough air to be considered tight enough for a baby to sleep on, there may be a small hole in the mattress or inadequate sealing, which as the night progresses will result in a mattress that is too soft. Again, there is the risk of a baby falling into one of the air bed's folds and suffocating.
The bed you sleep on must provide adequate support for your back. Because of the air bed's tendency to sag in spots or slowly lose air, you can be left with an unstable mattress that can wreak havoc on your back and other body parts. If you sleep on an air bed that is either too soft or too rigid, you can wake up stiff and sore the next morning. Over time this can lead to chronic back problems.
Another air bed danger comes from the actual air pump that is used to inflate the bed. If the air pump is not allowed enough room to do its work outside of the actual air bed and becomes enveloped in the bed as it is running, it will actually begin to suck air inside and become a sort of vacuum. This can lead to the pump becoming very hot, and besides breaking, it can burn anyone who touches it.
If you must use an air bed for a child while camping or traveling, at least pick one that is specifically designed for smaller bodies. There are air beds that are made in accordance to height, weight and age charts; be sure to pick out a smaller one for babies and young children. This will at least cut down on any potential suffocation from an oversized and underinflated air bed.
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