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WASHINGTON – After decades of danger and more than 200 infant deaths, President Joe Biden signed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law on Monday. The signing comes nearly a year after the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives; the Senate passed it earlier this month.
The law will designate inclined sleepers and crib bumpers as hazardous under the Consumer Product Safety Act and ban them from being produced or sold, regardless of the date of manufacture, because of the risk of suffocation. Inclined sleepers, aimed at babies up to 1 year old, have a sleep surface slanted greater than 10 degrees. Crib bumpers are padded and go inside a crib. The law will take effect in no more than 180 days from the date of enactment.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) last year ruled that inclined sleepers and other products marketed for sleep for infants younger than five months must meet the same federal safety standards required for cribs and similar products, starting next month. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act goes further than the CPSC rules, primarily regarding the marketing and labeling of inclined sleepers for infants younger than five months old.
In response, Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said:
“This is a long-fought and important victory for babies and anyone who cares about babies. The dangers posed to babies have been apparent for years. Manufacturers of inclined sleepers in particular have danced around the risks in part by saying the products aren’t intended for sleeping, even though some of the marketing shows babies being rocked in the product or suggests the product will lead to sweet dreams.
“It’s unfortunate that this law could take months to take effect. Parents and caregivers need to recognize the dangers of these products and get them out of their homes now. We consumer advocates will work to educate caregivers about products that may already be in use or may be passed down to new parents or found at garage sales or online.
“In 2019, a U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog investigation found that inclined sleepers that had been recalled were still being used in daycare centers in states across the country. Clearly, inclined sleepers and crib bumpers should have been banned years ago. We’re grateful this will finally occur.”
To learn whether any product has been recalled or is connected to injuries, go to SaferProducts.gov.
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