Unregulated Baby Sleepers Linked to Infant Deaths

Written by Lisa Rennie

An array of baby sleeping products that curtailed regulations have been recently banned after being linked to nearly 100 infant deaths. The regulatory loophole is being blamed for the products being able to overcome barriers and made available to the public.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently voted to pass the new rule requiring all baby sleeping products to meet mandatory federal standards that are currently in place for other related products, including cribs and bassinets. Several products advertised as baby sleepers are not classified under these categories, but from now on, they must adhere to the same safety standards that all other baby devices are required to comply with.

Proponents of the new rule hope that it will help deal with multiple untested sleep products for babies that are currently not in adherence to federal guidelines, which suggest that infants sleep on flat surfaces. Instead, babies are sleeping at a 30-degree angle on inclined sleepers, which could be contributing to the unfortunate slew of deaths.

Many of these sleep products for babies have already been voluntarily recalled by various brands. One such product is Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, 4.7 million of which were recalled in 2019 after they were associated with over 30 deaths. A couple of other products from Fisher Price were also recalled after some babies died after not being restrained and were later found on their bellies.

Some companies have made attempts to minimize the concerns. Rather than taking the blame, they’ve made it look as if the products were not being used properly and left blame to parents for not using them properly.

This is not the first time that inclined sleepers have received negative attention. Since Fisher-Price invented them over a decade ago, they’ve been the focus of controversy. However, these products have managed to remain on the market simply because they are not classified as cribs or bassinets, which must have flat sleep surfaces, according to federal regulations.

It’s up to companies to ensure products intended for baby use are safe prior to being made available to consumers rather than waiting to see what happens after the products are put to use. Innovation in baby products is still encouraged, but not at the expense of safety.

The steps taken by the CPSC will help ensure that products marketed for use among infants are proven safe.


Image source: predvopredvo from Pixabay

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Lisa Rennie

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