President Biden Just Signed The Safe Sleep For Babies Act Into Law
The Safe Sleep for Babies Act bans inclined rockers and padded crib bumpers linked to more than 200 reported infant deaths.
On Monday, May 16, President Joe Biden signed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act (H.R. 3182) into law.
The legislation, first introduced by Senators Tammy Duckworth, Rob Portman, and Richard Blumenthal, makes it illegal to “manufacture, sell, or distribute crib bumpers or inclined sleepers for infants. Specifically, inclined sleepers for infants are those designed for an infant up to one year old and have an inclined sleep surface of greater than 10 degrees.”
The bill moved relatively quickly. On May 3, the U.S. Senate passed the bill that bans inclined sleepers and crib bumper pads. The two types of infant sleep products have been deemed unsafe and have been linked with over 200 reported deaths. The House of Representatives passed the bill last year, and less than two weeks after it hit his desk, President Biden signed it into law.
The law defines a crib bumper as “any material intended to cover the inside of a crib to protect the occupant from impacts against the side of the crib or to prevent access to gaps in the crib.” Mesh liners are excluded from the ban.
Back in April 2019, Consumer Reports investigated the safety of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and found that the sleeping product was tied to at least 32 infant deaths. Fisher-Price recalled the product, but CR notes that the Mattel company knew about potential safety issues with the Rock ‘n Play, which was released in 2009.
Fisher-Price made at least $200 million in revenue the 10 years the product was on the market.
This investigation, along with the tireless work of mothers who lost a child because of one of these unsafe products, ultimately helped push this legislation.
“Never underestimate the tenacity of a grieving mother,” Sara Thompson, whose 15-week-old son Alexander died in 2011 while in a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, told Consumer Reports.
“Three years of hard work and tears finally paid off in justice for our angels and another step toward preventing future deaths. As we approach what would have been Alexander’s 11th birthday, I can now have the peace of knowing we have helped to spare other parents from this never-ending grief.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advised against using inclined sleepers and crib bumpers, both of which increase the risk of suffocation during sleep.
“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,” AAP President Moira Szilagyi wrote in an official statement.
"The use of crib bumpers pose an unnecessary threat to the health and safety of infants everywhere, there is no reason the sale of these dangerous items should continue," Portman said in a press release. "My home state of Ohio has already banned these harmful products. Congress must also act to protect infants from any unnecessary and unacceptable risk."
Parents unsure of whether or not their infant’s sleeper is safe can reach out to their pediatrician for guidance.
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