CPSC Approves Rules Banning Inclined Infant Sleepers and Crib Bumpers

Millions of inclined infant sleepers, crib bumpers, and other padded infant products have been recalled in recent years, following reports of suffocation and death.

Federal safety officials have banned inclined infant sleepers and crib bumpers from the U.S. market, following years of reports involving infant deaths caused by suffocation and asphyxiation.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 4-0 this month to approve two final infant sleep product rules, as required by the Safe Sleep for Babies Act (SSBA), which established mandatory federal safety standards for infant sleep products sold in the United States.

The Safe Sleep for Babies Act was passed by Congress as a regulatory mechanism to address hazards posed by millions of infant sleep products, which have been linked to reports of newborns being injured or killed after rolling over and becoming trapped against the fabric. The Act was signed into law by President Biden in May 2022.

Inclined Sleeper and Crib Bumper Bans

“The SSBA prohibits not only the sale of inclined sleepers for infants and crib bumpers, but also the manufacture for sale, distribution, or importation into the United States, of these products” the CPSC press release states.

The commission’s vote grants final approval to rules governing infant sleep products manufactured on or after June 23, 2002. The new rules ban sleep products intended for infants under 5 months of age from exceeding an elevation of 10 degrees. They also require compliance testing for infant sleep products currently on the market.

The CPSC is empowered to remove any products that do not meet the new requirements.

Inclined infant sleeper products are now defined as any product with an inclined sleep surface greater than ten degrees that is intended, marketed, or designed to provide sleeping accommodations for an infant up to 1 year old.

Crib bumpers are now defined as any product with fabric or material that have the potential to cover and block access to the crib’s side openings. They include padded crib bumpers, vinyl bumper guards, and vertical slat crib covers.

However, non-padded mesh crib liners are not included in the ban.

Millions of Infant Sleep Products Recalled Over Suffocation Risks

Inclined infant sleeper safety concerns first emerged in April 2019, when the CPSC issued a Fisher-Price Rock’n Play warning, instructing consumers to stop placing their infants in the sleepers by three months old, or before they begin to show signs that they can roll over independently.

The warning was issued after the CPSC linked at least 32 infant deaths to the products, when babies became trapped against the fabric and suffocated after they were suddenly able to roll over independently.

Following the identification of the inherent design problems, several manufacturers issued recalls of similar inclined sleeper products, including Fisher-Price’s recall of 4.7 million Rock’n Play Sleepers, Fischer-Price’s recall of 71,000 Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards and a recall of 694,000 Kids II inclined rocking sleepers. Two years later, in 2021, a 4-in-1 Rock ’n Glide Soother recall was issued after it was linked to four infant deaths.

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According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 4,000 infants die unexpectedly every year during sleep from accidental suffocation, sudden infant death syndrome, or unknown causes. Many of the deaths are a result of suffocation from rolling onto their sides or stomach.

In addition to enacting the new ban on inclined sleepers and crib bumpers, the CPSC is reminding parents and caregivers that infants should always be placed on their backs in a flat, firm crib, bassinet, or play yard, without any items in or around their sleeping environment, except for a fitted sheet. Parents and caregivers are also urged to move an infant who has fallen asleep in an upright or inclined position onto their back and place them in a safe sleeping environment.


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