June 12, 2019

Cárdenas Introduces Safe Sleep for Babies Act

WASHINGTON – On Monday, U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) introduced the Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2019 following reports of infant deaths tied to incline sleep products. This legislation would prohibit the sale of inclined sleepers with an inclined surface of greater than 10 degrees that is intended, marketed, or designed to provide sleeping accommodations for infants up to one year old. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“I believe that we need to put American babies first, not profits,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas. “There have been more than 30 deaths linked to recalled Fisher-Price sleeper products yet other models that are just as dangerous remain on the market. Parents deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the sleep products they purchase are safe. As a grandfather, this is very concerning to me which is why I am introducing the Safe Sleep for Babies Act which would ban these life-threatening products from store shelves. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his leadership and for joining me in the fight to protect American children.”

“When it comes to sleep, the science is clear: the safest sleep environment for babies is a firm, flat, bare surface. Inclined sleep products are dangerous and should not be on the market. This bill takes important and necessary action to ban these products, protecting infant lives and helping prevent families from experiencing tragedy. The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds Representative Tony Cárdenas for his leadership and is calling on lawmakers to advance the legislation," said American Academy of Pediatrics CEO/Executive Vice President (Interim) Mark Del Monte, JD.

"We applaud Representative Cardenas for introducing this important legislation," stated Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel with Consumer Federation of America. "This bill is so critical because it will protect babies from sleeping in a product, inclined sleep products, that is not compatible with safe sleep."

“Consumer Reports strongly supports this bill, because infant inclined sleepers shouldn’t be on the market. This spring, a Consumer Reports investigation helped prompt the recall of more than 5 million Fisher-Price and Kids II inclined sleepers tied to at least 37 infant deaths. Still, other models of inclined sleepers remain for sale, and manufacturers have refused to stop making this category of products. It’s time for Congress to protect infants’ safety and help keep parents and caregivers from unwittingly putting their babies at risk,” said William Wallace, manager of home and safety policy for Consumer Reports

“Due to strong standards, parents can safely leave babies in cribs, bassinets and play yards while they sleep or do other activities.  Inclined sleep products do not give that assurance of safety and so should be prohibited,” stated Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger.

At least 37 infant deaths have been linked to infant inclined sleep products. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that babies sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface without any other bedding or restraints. On April 12 and April 26, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued recalls of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play and Kids II Rocking Sleeper, respectively, but there are other inclined sleep products that remain on the market. This is a problem for consumers like grandparents and parents who will assume the products that remain in stores and on the market are somehow safer than the ones that have been recalled. Congressman Cárdenas, as a parent and grandparent, believes that he must act now to prevent future deaths.

In April, the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing on the role and mission of the CPSC to protect the American people from dangerous consumer products. Watch Cárdenas’s full remarks at the hearing here.