Baby in an inclined sleeper (Courtesy of fisher-price.mattel.com)
Baby in an inclined sleeper (Courtesy of fisher-price.mattel.com)

President Biden recently signed a ban against baby sleep products linked to an estimated 200 infant deaths.

The Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021, signed into law on May 16, prohibits the manufacture and sale of crib bumpers and some but not all inclined infant sleepers. 

The law defines an inclined sleeper for infants as a product with a sleep surface greater than 10 degrees that is intended, marketed, or designed to provide sleeping accommodations for an infant up to 1 year old. 

Crib bumpers are cotton pads that lie around the edge of a crib. 

They were originally designed to prevent babies’ heads from falling between crib slats – any material that is intended to cover the sides of a crib to prevent injury from impacts against the side of a crib. 

The ban includes a padded crib bumper, a supported and unsupported vinyl bumper guard and vertical crib slat covers. The ban does not include a non-padded mesh crib liner.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 83 deaths have been crib bumper-related and 97 have been due to inclined sleepers. 

A study from the CPSC notes that many researchers believe the most common risk factor for sleep-related deaths in infants is rolling into crib bumpers in their sleep area. 

In addition, crib bumper pads increase the likelihood of suffocation or entrapment.

The CPSC has also recalled the Fisher-Price Rock’ n Play, Kids II Rocking Sleeper, 4-in-1 Rock’ n Glide Soother and the 2-in-1 Soothe’ n Play Glider.

Last year, the CPSC approved a new federal rule that will require products marketed or intended for infant sleep to meet a federal safety standard limiting the incline of sleepers to 10 degrees or lower.

California Congressman Tony Cárdenas, who co-introduced the legislation, applauded President Biden’s actions to ban such products.

“Parents and caregivers can breathe a sigh of relief now that President Biden has signed our Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law,” Cárdenas said. “Families will finally get the peace of mind that comes with knowing the sleep products they purchase for their newborns are safe. This new law will save lives and protect our kids by banning life-threatening crib bumper pads and inclined sleep products from store shelves.”

Child safety experts like the American Pediatrics Association and groups like Kids In Danger say babies sleep safest flat on their backs in a crib, bassinet, or play yard with nothing in the sleep space. 

“As this law now goes into effect, we remember babies like Preston, who suffocated at just eight weeks old when he rolled off of a sleep positioner and against the bumper of his crib in 2011, and Alex who died in an inclined sleep product, the now-recalled Fisher-Price Rock’ n Play, in 2011,” Nancy Cowles, executive director of the group Kids In Danger said.

“After years of perseverance and many tears, the Safe Sleep for Babies Act has finally been signed into law,” said Alex’s mother, Sara Thompson. 

“Hopefully, this will help lower the number of preventable infant deaths. For all of our angels and all of the grieving parents, this is a victory in their memory. I urge parents now to take the danger seriously and listen to the science,” she said.  

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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