Two popular baby sleep products will soon be outlawed in the United States.
The Safe Sleep for Babies Act, which became federal law in May, makes padded crib bumpers and inclined sleepers illegal to be manufactured or sold, and they will be removed from store shelves over the next few months.
These dangerous products pose a risk to infants who can roll over onto the padded surfaces and suffocate. Inclined sleepers and crib bumper pads have been linked with more than 200 infant deaths, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Parents that already have crib bumpers or inclined sleepers should get rid of them now, according to pediatricians and child safety groups. Families should also avoid acquiring these unsafe items secondhand.
“No family should ever experience this tragedy.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called the new law “a monumental victory for children’s health.” AAP has warned against dangerous and unsafe crib bumpers and inclined sleepers for decades:
“The message from pediatricians has long been clear: the safest sleep environment for babies is a firm, flat, bare surface. Despite what the science shows, crib bumpers and inclined sleepers have remained on the market and store shelves, misleading parents into thinking they are safe and leading to dozens of preventable infant deaths. No family should ever experience this tragedy.”
Safe sleep recommendations
AAP’s safe sleep recommendations for babies are for them to sleep alone, on their back, on a firm, flat surface — like a crib or bassinet that meets the latest safety guidelines — with no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or toys in their space.
These recommendations are also part of the Arizona Department of Child Safety’s Safe Sleep campaign, which aims to educate families with babies about safe sleep practices and provide them with resources including access to a baby box or even a crib, if needed.
Inclined sleepers and crib bumpers are hazardous products
The new law bans inclined sleepers greater than 10 degrees that are meant to be used as a sleeping surface for children up to age 1. Several companies have recalled their infant inclined sleeper products in recent years due to the risk of suffocation and sleep-related infant death.
Crib bumpers, often seen as decorative items that may also protect babies from getting caught in the slats of their crib, actually pose a risk and should be avoided. Cribs sold in the U.S. are regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and are safe sleep spaces for babies. No extra bedding or stuffed animals should be placed in the crib with your sleeping baby.
“This law is an important step in protecting the health of infants,” said Emily Flanigan, program specialist for children’s health at First Things First. She also serves on the Arizona Safe Sleep Task Force hosted by AZDHS. “Families need to know what products they should not be using to help keep their babies safe.”
The Safe Sleep for Babies Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on May 3, after passing the House in June 2021. President Joe Biden signed it into law on May 16, 2022. Both items will be designated as hazardous products banned under the Consumer Product Safety Act no later than 180 days after the law was enacted.