Pregnancy

CPSC Passes New Ruling to Prevent Sales of Unsafe Infant Sleepers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has passed a new federal rule mandating that products marketed or intended for infant sleep provide a safe sleep environment for babies under 5 months old.

The rule, which will go into effective mid-2022, aims to ensure that products such as inclined sleepers, portable bassinets and in-bed sleepers meet federal safety standards. Currently, while cribs and bassinets are already federally regulated, there is no such requirement for these products.

This new ruling will prohibit infant sleeper products from entering store shelves until they have both met federal standards and have been tested to confirm the angle of the sleep surface is 10 degrees or lower. Additionally, the sleepers must comply with the CPSC’s Safety Standards for bassinets and cradles.

“What we’ve done today fulfills the most sacred of our obligations as Commissioners—to take steps to protect vulnerable consumers, including babies,” CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in a release. “Today’s vote ensures that when a product is intended or marketed for sleep, it will indeed be safe for an infant to sleep.”

This rule will not extend to products that are not marketed for infant sleep, such as car seats and swings. In their press release, the CPSC reminds parents that the safest place for a baby to sleep is on a bare, flat surface dedicated to the baby. Between January 2019 and December 2020, the agency is aware of 254 incidents, including 21 fatalities, related to infant sleep products. The design-related issues have resulted in infants “rolling over and asphyxiating,” developing respiratory problems or suffocating.

“We wouldn’t assume that a manufacturer or retailer is selling us something that’s potentially dangerous. You just assume if it’s sold, that it’s safe. But most of the time, it works exactly the other way around, where the burden of proof is to demonstrate that it’s harmful. And unfortunately, that means that people get hurt,” Dr. Ben Hoffman, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention told TODAY Parents. “Products that encourage them to sleep in a different way puts them at risk. Until now, the system favored profits over people…Parents are exhausted and they’re looking for anything that will get them through that rough period. Selling hope to families has led to a lot of bad things happening to a baby.”

While this information can be scary for new parents, the new ruling, along with following safe sleep practices, can help reduce the risk of potential dangers. The AAP recommends putting babies to sleep alone in the crib (no soft bedding) on their back on a firm and flat surface. For more information on putting baby to sleep in a safe environment, check out these 10 tips. To learn more about the ruling and safety standards for infant sleep products, visit CPSC.gov.

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