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March 15, 2000

Each Year 900 SIDS Deaths May be Caused by Soft Bedding

Retailers Join CPSC in Promoting Safe Bedding Practices for Babies

Washington, DC (SafetyAlerts) - To prevent deaths from soft bedding, seven major retailers are joining the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in kicking off a safety campaign promoting safe bedding practices for babies. As many as 900 baby deaths each year attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may actually be caused by suffocation in soft bedding, such as quilts, comforters, pillows and sheepskins.

Babies "R" Us, IKEA, JCPenney, Kmart, Lands' End, Sears and Target, which account for the majority of baby bedding sales, are making changes to crib displays in retail stores, catalogs, advertisements and websites. Beginning this Spring, shoppers will no longer see cribs made up with pillows, quilts and comforters. Many retailers will be including cautionary statements about the use of soft bedding for younger babies in their catalogs, on signs attached to cribs, and on inserts that accompany baby comforters and quilts. When babies are featured in crib ads, they always will be pictured sleeping on their backs. Other retailers are going to create bedding safety brochures for customers and add quilt racks to their nursery product lines.

Since 1994, CPSC has warned about the danger of soft bedding to babies under 12 months. But when consumers went to stores or browsed through catalogs, they often got a different message. Cribs made up with comforters, quilts and pillows may have encouraged parents to use these items in the crib with an infant. Parents unaware of the warnings, would not know that these items could be deadly for young babies.

"Parents and caregivers will no longer get a mixed message on how to create a safe sleeping environment for their baby," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Whether browsing through a catalog or floor display, cribs will now display a safe way to put baby to sleep."

For babies under 12 months, CPSC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development recommend the following to help reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Place baby on his/her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards.
  • Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like stuffed toys and other pillow-like soft products from the crib.
  • Consider using a sleeper as an alternative to blankets with no other covering.
  • If using a blanket, put baby with his or her feet at the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, only as far as the baby's chest.
  • Make sure your baby's head remains uncovered during sleep.
  • Do not place baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow or other soft surface to sleep.

CPSC has worked with manufacturers to get warning labels on infant pillows, and is now working for a similar warning on baby quilts and comforters.

Selected Recent Recalls

Health Professional:

Did you know?
During 2000 there were over
1050 products recalled in the United
States for safety reasons!

How many did you hear about?

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