The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will finally set safety standards for infant sleepers after more than 100 infants have died in unregulated products. According to a CBS News report, the regulatory agency said this move will “effectively eliminate” potentially hazardous sleep products for infants under the age of 5 months.
Most infant sleep products have been unregulated until now. However, with the passage of these new rules, these products will face similar regulations to cribs and bassinets. Consumer Reports, a consumer advocacy group, has linked infant sleepers to at least 106 child deaths. Roughly one in three U.S. families own one or more of these infant sleepers that were never previously regulated, federal regulators say.
The new rules will cover any inclined sleep products along with in-bed sleepers and baby boxes for infants up to 5 months old. That includes any product that bears the words “sleep, snooze, dream, nap” or just about anything that depicts sleep or can be described as a bed. Several brands of these sleepers have been recalled for potentially fatal dangers to infants, most notably the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, which has been linked to more than 30 deaths.
Why Infant Sleepers Are Dangerous
Our product defect lawyers are relieved that these safety rules have been finally passed and that they will play their part in preventing these heartbreaking tragedies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep alone, on their backs and unrestrained, on a firm, flat surface that is free of soft bedding and padded bumpers.
However, inclined sleepers contradict these guidelines. They are not flat, their sidewalls and head support are made of soft bedding and they have restraint harnesses. Researchers have found that inclined sleepers make it easier for babies to roll over onto their stomachs or sides with their faces pressed against the sleeper’s soft fabric, which suffocates them.
Because inclined sleepers feature seats as opposed to flat surfaces, they place babies in a flexed hip position. This could cause infants to roll over earlier than they might have been able to manage on a flat surface. This is why, experts say, many parents whose children died in an inclined sleeper after rolling over said their babies had never rolled over previously.
Protecting Our Children
If you have one of these sleep products at home, please stop using them right away. Caregivers at daycares should also be wary about which products they are using for naptime. Do not re-sell or donate these products. If you are in the market for used children’s products, please be careful about what you purchase, be it at a store or a garage sale.