A new rule, approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in early June, will ensure products marketed or intended for infant sleep will provide a safe sleep environment for infants under five months of age. The rule takes effect in mid-2022. After that date, any product intendent or marketed for infant sleep must meet a federal safety standard, which will eliminate potentially hazardous sleep products that don’t currently meet a mandatory standard for infant sleep, including inclined sleepers, baby boxes, soft-sided baby nests and pods, in-bed sleepers, infant hammocks, portable or travel infant beds, and baby tents. These products have been linked to dozens of infant deaths.
“If only I had known how dangerous it is to be uneducated when it comes to safe sleep,” said “Tess,” a loss parent who wished to remain anonymous so we aren’t using her real name. “I thought there wasn’t much to it until I lost my 3-month-old in a bassinet that I later found out was recalled.”
A driving factor that led to this rule was the number of deaths attributed to inclined sleep products. These products are unsafe due to the angle at which babies are positioned -- leading to positional asphyxiation and also made it easier for them to roll in the product and land in a compromising position.
“You never think it will happen to you,” said Tess. “You see all of these horror stories and news headlines and think that it could never be you. I thought something so terrible could never happen to me until it became my reality.”
The new rule actively bans all inclined sleep items, which means any item meant or marketed for infant sleep can have no more than a 10 degree incline.
Tess is pleading for parents to educate themselves. “Please do your research so you never have to go through this tragedy. It could save your child’s life.”
The new rule from the CPSC is raising questions about what this means for products on the market today and whether there is a list of banned items. Unfortunately, nothing will change overnight. Manufacturers have a year to either remarket or redesign products that don’t meet the necessary standards.
So what do we know?
Items like the dock-a-tot have already removed mention of its use for sleep, although the brand is still under investigation along with other pillow-like items that have been implicated in the deaths of infants. We’ll know more when that investigation is complete. For now, we continue to advocate against the use of dangerous items, and to cease the use of recalled or unsafe items.
This rule does not apply to crib bumpers. Stay tuned for more information on the Safe Cribs Act, which could address those items.
Our fight is not over, it may never be, but as long as we know we are moving towards a world with fewer unsafe items available for mainstream purchase, we are moving in the right direction.
Here is the official CPSC statement