|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 1995
Release # 95-073
|CPSC: Kathleen Begala
(301) 504-0580, Ext. 1193
CPSC Releases New Study on Infant
"Don't put your baby to sleep on top of soft
bedding," CPSC Chairman Ann Brown warns.
Washington, D.C. - Unsafe use of soft bedding may contribute to the deaths of as many as
1,800 infants each year, according to a study being released today by the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission.
The two-year study found that up to 30 percent of the 6,000 babies who die of Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) each year may have suffocated to death when placed on top of
pillows, comforters, sheepskins, and other soft products.
The findings emphasize the need for parents to be careful when putting their infants down
to sleep in their cribs, said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. Parents should never put their
babies to sleep on top of soft, fluffy products such as pillows, comforters, or
sheepskins, she said.
"Many parents are buying soft, fluffy infant products for cribs," the chairman
added. "Such products are beautiful, but parents must remember: never put fluffy
products under a baby."
"It is important to note that we have not found a cause for SIDS," Brown said.
"But this study does show an association between infants placed on top of soft
bedding and many deaths attributed to SIDS."
The study was sparked by preliminary evidence that soft bedding may play a role in the
occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which kills some 6,000 babies each year in the
A team of CPSC investigators found that about 30 percent of infants who died of SIDS
between 1992 and 1993 were found with their noses and mouths covered by soft bedding. Most
of those infants had been placed on their stomachs to sleep and were lying either on top
of sheepskin bedding, on top of pillows, or on top of comforters.
By using mechanical models to recreate the death scenes, scientists tested the bedding for
carbon dioxide accumulation. Their tests found that high levels of carbon dioxide
frequently accumulated in some of the bedding products. Rebreathing their own carbon
dioxide may have contributed to the infants' deaths, the researchers concluded.
The CPSC study used a unique, multi-site, multi-disciplinary design to examine the
association of bedding products and SIDS deaths. CPSC began the study after learning of
infant deaths associated with the use of soft products designed for babies. Eighty percent
of the SIDS deaths that CPSC studied occurred in babies under the age of four months.
"The study performed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is an important
contribution to our understanding and possible prevention of this devastating
problem," said John Kattwinkel, M.D., chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics'
task force on SIDS.
CPSC recommends the following safety guidelines for infants less than eight months old:
- Place infants to sleep in a crib on a firm, flat
- Do not place soft, fluffy products, such as
pillows, comforters, or sheepskins under infants while they sleep or nap.
- Place healthy infants on their backs or sides to
sleep, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000
types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product
or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call
CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a
press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax
machine and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall
information or report product hazards to firstname.lastname@example.org.