CPSC approves safety standard for infant sleep products: What parents need to know

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a major new federal safety standard aimed to provide a more protective environment for infants using products marketed or intended for sleep.

According to a news release, any product marketed or intended for infant sleep must meet a federal safety standard – a requirement that does not exist today.

Products you need to know about

According to the release, the new safety standard will effectively eliminate potentially hazardous sleep products in the marketplace. These are the products that would be included:

  • Inclined sleepers
  • Travel bassinets
  • In-bed sleepers

What to know about the federal safety standard

  • The new federal safety rule incorporates the most recent voluntary standard developed by ASTM International -- ASTM F3118-17a, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Inclined Sleep Products -- with modifications to make the standard more stringent.
  • The new standard now requires that infant sleep products that do not already meet the requirements of an existing CPSC sleep standard must be tested to confirm that the angle of the sleep surface is 10 degrees or lower and that they comply with the agency’s Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles.
  • CPSC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long warned of the dangers of bed-sharing or co-sleeping. The new rule does not take any action against bed-sharing without sleep products. Instead, it shifts responsibility to manufacturers to assist parents who want to bed-share, by requiring them to produce only products that are safe to do so.
  • The new rule also does not extend to items that are expressly not intended or marketed for infant sleep, such as swings and car seats. CPSC reminded consumers that the safest place for a baby to sleep is a flat, bare surface dedicated to the infant. The rule, CPSC said, “ensures that products marketed for sleep meet these basic safety requirements.” For more on safe sleep practices, click here.

Why the standard was put in place

CPSC said it is aware of a total of 254 incidents, including 21 fatalities, related to infant sleep products (inclined and flat), occurring between January 2019 and December 2020. The hazard patterns associated with the infant inclined sleep products include design-related issues which resulted in infants rolling over and asphyxiating, children developing respiratory problems, or developing physical deformations due to extended period of use. Hazard patterns for the flat infant sleep products included infants falling out of the product, or suffocating on soft structure sides.

[RELATED: Fisher-Price recalls gliders after 4 baby deaths, feds say products pose suffocation risk]

“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. “Today’s vote ensures that when a product is intended or marketed for sleep, it will indeed be safe for an infant to sleep.”

The standard which was approved on June 2, 2021, is expected to go into effect by mid-2022.

What’s next

According to the release, CPSC expects to consider federal safety standards for crib bumpers and crib mattresses later this year.

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