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New Law Bans Infant Sleep Products Linked to 200 Deaths

A new law will ban certain infant sleep products blamed for the deaths of more than 200 babies in the US.

On Monday, President Joe Biden signed legislation that prohibits the manufacture and sale of crib bumpers or inclined sleepers for infants, due to the risk of suffocation, according to CBS News.

HR 3182, or the Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021, notes that sleepers and bumpers will be considered “banned hazardous products” under the Consumer Product Safety Act. It gives manufacturers and retailers 180 days to comply with the new rule.

“The dangers posed to babies have been apparent for years,” Teresa Murray, who directs the consumer watchdog office for the US PIRG Education Fund, said in a statement.

“It’s unfortunate that this law could take months to take effect,” she said. “Parents and caregivers need to recognize the dangers of these products and get them out of their homes now.”

HR 3182 defines inclined sleepers as products that have a sleep surface slanted greater than 10 degrees and are intended for babies up to 1 year old. Crib bumpers include any material that is designed to cover the sides of a crib, which includes padding or vinyl bumper guards but not nonpadded mesh crib liners.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has received reports of more than 113 deaths involving crib bumpers between 1990 and 2019, as well as 113 nonfatal incidents between 2008 and 2019, according to a report from the commission.

More than 100 babies have died from infant-inclined sleep products, according to the commission, which has recalled numerous versions in recent years. But older models are still in circulation, CBS News reported.

Last year, the commission approved a federal safety rule that bans several types of sleep products for babies under 5 months old. Set to take effect next month, the rule requires products marketed for infants to meet the same federal safety standards as required for cribs and similar products.

Parents and advocates have called for a ban on these products for decades, according to CBS, since they can lead to suffocation when an infant’s nose and mouth are covered by a bumper or become stuck between a bumper and crib mattress.

Sudden unexpected infant death, or SUID — which includes sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS — is the leading cause of injury death in infancy, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group’s recommendations for safe sleep advise that infants should sleep on their back on a firm, flat surface without any extra padding, pillows, blankets, stuffed toys, bumpers, or other soft items in the sleep space.

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