See what the evidence says about letting your baby sleep in a DuoGlider.
If you’re confused about whether sleeping in a Graco DuoGlider is safe for your baby, you are far from alone.
You’ve probably heard that babies shouldn’t sleep in swings… but the top search results on Google tell a different story.
The featured snippet (the enlarged answer Google gives you at the top) quotes Graco, the manufacturer, more or less confirming the use of the swing for sleep.
You’ll find the same mixed messages on every major retail site as well.
But is this information correct?
This guide will answer common questions about whether the DuoGlider is safe for naps and overnight sleep.
We’ll also talk about whether the answer changes when the seat is fully reclined, as well as if you’re supervising.
Unlike the vast majority of others on the subject, this guide is based on scientific evidence, not personal anecdotes or opinions.
Below, you’ll see what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have to say. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- What is the Graco DuoGlider?
- Is the DuoGlider swing safe for sleep?
- What are the risks of letting baby sleep in a DuoGlider?
- Is the DuoGlider safe for sleep when fully reclined?
- Is the DuoGlider safe for supervised naps?
- Have babies died sleeping in swings?
- Why has this product’s name changed?
- What does Graco have to say?
- Final thoughts
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
There may be affiliate links in this post. Read this disclosure policy to learn more.
What is the Graco DuoGlider?
The Graco DuoGlider is a swing seat that doubles as a bouncer.
The swing rocks a baby in a motion similar to that of a glider chair. It has 6 types of swinging speeds to choose from. It also has vibration, music, and nature sounds.
The DuoGlider has three recline positions. According to Graco, the lowest recline lays mostly flat and the highest recline is approximately 130 degrees.
Note that this is the same product as the DreamGlider Gliding Seat & Sleeper which has been renamed. More on the name change in a just a bit.
Is the DuoGlider swing safe for sleep?
The DuoGlider is not safe for sleep.
Again, this may come as a surprise given the vast amount of content on the web that says otherwise.
It is unsafe for sleep because, in part:
- It is padded and contoured;
- It has a harness and straps;
- It is inclined (particularly in certain positions); and
- It does not meet federal safety standards for infant sleep.
The AAP advises in regard to swings,
“Your baby should only sleep in products that are designed to be safe sleep spaces, like cribs, bassinets, and portable play yards. Other products like swings, reclined seats, bouncers, and other sitting or positioning devices are not safe for sleep. If your baby falls asleep in one of these, move her to a safe sleep space right away.”
Related: Is the Mamaroo Safe for Sleep?
What are the risks of letting your baby sleep in a DuoGlider?
Let’s take a high-level look at what can go wrong when babies sleep in products such as the DuoGlider.
Risk #1: Rebreathing of CO₂
When a baby turns their head into the bouncer’s contoured and padded side, they can rebreathe their exhaled carbon dioxide, causing oxygen levels to drop.
Risk #2: Positional Asphyxia
When placed at an incline, a baby’s head can slump forward and cut off their airway, causing suffocation.
These risks are exacerbated when the swing is in motion/vibrating.
The movement lulls a baby into a deep sleep, which sounds like a good thing, but surprisingly is not.
It’s important for babies to be able to wake up easily in response to stressors during sleep.
According to the chairperson of the AAP’s SIDS Taskforce, Dr. Rachel Moon, a reduced hypoxic arousal response may be one of the main reasons babies die of SIDS/SUID.
Let me give you an example in plain English…
While the swing is in motion, the baby turns their head into the plush/contoured side of the swing.
They start getting less fresh oxygen.
The swing continues to rock the baby into a deeper sleep.
The baby doesn’t wake up to reposition themselves. Their oxygen levels drop further.
Is the DuoGlider safe for sleep when fully reclined?
Unfortunately, even when the DuoGlider is (relatively) flat, it is still not a safe sleep environment for your baby.
For one, it has not undergone safety testing for infant sleep.
The AAP warns:
“Infant positioners and inclined sleepers have been popular items on baby registry lists for years. But until mid-2022, these products are not regulated and have no safety standards.”
Further, as we’ve discussed, the plush and contoured sides of the DuoGlider pose a risk of re-breathing, regardless of the incline.
Additionally, the harness is an automatic disqualifier for safe infant sleep.
“The AAP does not recommend any products for sleep that require restraining a baby, especially if the product also rocks.” —AAP
Here is a helpful infographic that you can save or pin for later to help you remember what features make a product unsafe for sleep.
Next, we’re going to talk about the safety of napping in a DuoGlider; and finally, we’ll address the product’s name change and whether Graco is marketing this product responsibly.
Is the DuoGlider safe for supervised naps?
This really surprised me and will probably surprise you too…
Supervision does not make it safe for your baby to sleep in a DuoGlider.
Asphyxia is a silent killer. It looks just like a sleeping baby.
This means that when a baby is having trouble breathing, there is no fight for life to warn parents that something is wrong. Often, the caregiver only notices when it’s already too late.
This is why it’s critical to never make exceptions to the basic rules of safe sleep.
Babies should only sleep in a regulated crib, bassinet, or play yard.
(Or in the arms of an alert caregiver).
Products in these 3 classes have undergone rigorous safety testing for infant sleep.
In case you need a refresher, send yourself Safe Sleep 101 to read later.
Have babies died sleeping in swings?
“Every year, several hundred infants fall victim to sleep-related deaths in sitting devices like car seats, bouncers or swings used improperly for routine sleep.” –AAP
As you can see from everything we’ve discussed above, letting your baby sleep in a DuoGlider (even if it’s reclined and even if you’re supervising) is a safety risk.
This leads us to the related question as to why Graco decided to change the name of this product…
Why has this product’s name changed?
The Graco DuoGlider Gliding Swing used to be called a DreamGlider Gliding Seat & Sleeper.
Parents assumed that a product called a sleeper was safe for a baby to sleep in.
But in 2019, 73 deaths linked to the Rock ‘N Play (an inclined sleeper made by Fischer Price) came to light, putting all other sleepers—products not actually tested for infant sleep—under fire.
Graco, instead of redesigning or recalling their product, dropped the word “sleeper” from the swing’s name. This allowed the DuoGlider to survive impending regulatory changes that took sleepers off the market.
Graco told Consumer Reports that they changed the name of their product to “help prevent consumer misinterpretation of how the product should be used”.
I’ll leave it to you to judge how serious they are about their stated intention after you read this next section…
What does Graco have to say?
Let’s take a quick look at Graco’s website and the DuoGlider Amazon listing to see whether they’ve made it clear that the product shouldn’t be used for sleep.
Messaging on their website
Graco’s current sales page talks about the DuoGlider as a “safe and comfortable place to rest.” They have not included the word “sleep” anywhere in the sales copy.
So far so good.
As you keep scrolling to the customer reviews section of Graco’s website, however, it becomes apparent that the company doesn’t seem to mind that parents are still using this product for sleep…
One review after another has pictures of babies sleeping in the DuoGlider.
A large percentage of the comments laud the product for being great for sleep.
Many customers even refer to it as a “bassinet”—which it is not. (As we’ve discussed, this product does not meet bassinet safety standards.)
Underneath, Graco has simply thanked some of these customers for their feedback, making no attempt to address the “misinterpretation of how the product should be used” (using their words).
Note that tons of these reviews were written after the name change from “Sleeper” to “Swing”.
They’ve been accumulating on Graco’s sales page for years, seemingly without moderation.
…which leads me to wonder…
Does Graco, a billion-dollar company, not have anyone in charge of managing their website to ensure that their sales page does not “misrepresent” how this product should be used?
Or, is Graco letting customer reviews do the dirty work of advertising this product for sleep?
Messaging on Amazon
What you’ll find on Amazon is extremely similar to what’s displayed on Graco’s website…
With one critical exception…
Graco hasn’t bothered to remove their own past statements okaying the use of this product for sleep.
Here are two of many examples…
As you can see from the screenshot above, Graco claims that their swing “has been rated for attended overnight sleep.”
(I have no idea what “rated for” means, as this product has never met standards for infant sleep—attended, unattended, day, or night.)
Here’s another example:
Poor English aside, you can see in this screenshot that Graco says their swing “can be used for a bassinet for the baby.”
One more time: The DuoGlider does NOT meet bassinet safety standards.
As we wrap up this section, it’s worth noting that I did not have to dig to find the answers that I screenshotted above.
Surely, this means that other customers are seeing them too.
How many of them realize that this information is incorrect, unsafe, and outdated?
Note: In fairness to Graco, there are some recent responses in the Q&A section stating that the DuoGlider is “not approved for sleeping.” However, these answers are not visible unless a customer takes the time to scroll through multiple pages of the Q&A.
Don’t lots of people let their babies sleep in swings?
Indeed they do.
And yes, the majority of those babies survive.
But, sadly, thousands of babies die every year because their caregivers weren’t following the ABCs of Safe Sleep.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to using a DuoGlider swing safely
What if my baby unexpectedly falls asleep in the DuoGlider?
The AAP advises:
“If your baby falls asleep in one of these, move her to a safe sleep space right away.”
(Ideally, you would notice if your baby started to look tired and move them before they fell asleep).
My baby has reflux. Is it safe to let them sleep on an incline?
Flat on their back is actually the safest position if your baby spits up.
The AAP says:
“Though parents are often concerned that their baby may vomit and choke while sleeping on their back, it is a total myth!”
Read their article for more information: What is the safest sleep solution for my baby with reflux?
The NIH provides a helpful explanation:
“When babies are in the back sleep position, the trachea lies on top of the esophagus. Anything regurgitated or refluxed from the esophagus must work against gravity to be aspirated into the trachea.”
If you have concerns about your baby’s health, speak to your pediatrician.
My baby will only sleep in their DuoGlider— what should I do?
Given how unsafe this is, the only thing to do is eliminate the option of using the swing for sleep.
It’s too risky to transition gradually. The baby should stop sleeping in the DuoGlider immediately.
It will probably take time for your baby to adjust to sleeping flat on their back in a safe crib (or bassinet or playard), so be mentally prepared and recruit as much help as you can.
If your baby is at least 4 months old and you have pediatrician approval, you can start sleep training.
Here are 2 free Facebook groups that I highly recommend to help you navigate this:
If you’re on Instagram, check out @SafeInfantSleep.
Share this post with a friend or save it on Pinterest!