CPSC Infant Sleep Product Standards Now In Effect to Prevent Suffocations, Deaths

Infant sleep products inclining greater than 10 degrees are now banned in the United States, to reduce the risk of infant suffocations and deaths

Following recalls which have impacted millions of infant sleep products, due unreasonable risks of entrapment and potentially deadly suffocations, federal safety officials have passed several new rules which will set a maximum allowable incline on all infant sleep products sold in the United States.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that new safety standards for bassinets and cradles went into effect on June 23, requiring any infant sleep products have a sleep angle of no more than 10 degrees, in addition to requiring that all products conform to the existing crib, play yard, and bassinet standards.

Inclining infant sleepers and bassinets have been introduced by several companies, to elevate the baby’s head and torso, claiming it helps prevent acid-reflux and congestion. However, the design has proven to be deadly after babies are old enough to rollover on their own, or if the incline of the bassinet forces the child’s chin down to his or her neck, creating an airway blockage.

As part of an ongoing effort to minimize the risk of deaths and injuries associated with the use of bassinets and cradles, the CPSC has enacted new mandatory standards for inclined infant sleepers, which were published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 16 CFR Part 1218.

The new rules now prohibits the sale of any infant sleep product with an incline greater than 10 degrees, and also requires all infant sleep products to go through a more stringent stability test procedure. The CPSC stated any products marketed for sleep such as inclined sleepers, travel or compact basinets or in-bed sleepers may no longer be marketed or sold for sleeping purposes.

“As a parent, I know there is nothing more important than the safety of our children,” CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said. “I am pleased to announce this new safety standard will protect our most vulnerable population, babies.”

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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 publicly recognized at least 32 infant deaths related to the products.

Following the warning, several manufacturers issued recalls of inclined sleeper products in April 2019, 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 four reported infant fatalities associated with its use.

The repeated injuries and infant lives lost due to these rockers resulted in the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, which passed in May 2022, making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or distribute crib bumpers or inclined sleepers for infants in the United States. As of June 23, those the new mandatory requirements are now in effect.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 4,000 infants annually die unexpectedly during sleep from accidental suffocation, sudden infant death syndrome, or unknown causes. Many of the reported fatalities are a result of suffocation from rolling on their sides or stomach.

To reduce suffocation and accidental deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants sleep on their backs positioned on a firm, empty surface, not containing any soft objects toys, pillows or loose bedding. The recommendations call for new parents to always follow the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone on the Back in a bare Crib.

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