May 13, 2021

Cárdenas, Schakowsky Introduce Safe Sleep for Babies Act

The legislation would ban crib bumper pads and infant inclined sleep products that have caused numerous deaths

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, introduced the Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021 following several reports of infant deaths tied to inclined sleep products and crib bumper pads. The legislation will add inclined sleepers for infants with an inclined sleep surface greater than ten degrees and crib bumpers to the list of banned hazardous products under the Consumer Product Safety Act. 

“There have been numerous deaths linked to crib bumper pads and infant inclined sleep products over the last decade,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “As a grandfather, this is very concerning to me. Parents deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing the sleep products they purchase are safe. That’s why I’m introducing the Safe Sleep for Babies Act which will ban life-threatening sleeping products from store shelves. I thank Chair Schakowsky for her  leadership and for joining me in the fight to protect our children.”

“It’s past time for Congress to act to ensure that no more babies die in unsafe sleep products. Crib bumpers and infant inclined sleepers are dangerous products that go against longstanding safe sleep best practices.  Yet, many parents do not realize this because they are heavily marketed and widely available. To address this issue, I am proud to introduce the Safe Sleep For Babies Act with my colleague Vice Chair Cárdenas. This legislation will protect infants and remove these hazards from the market,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.  

“When it comes to infant sleep, the science is clear: the safest sleep environment for babies is a firm, flat, bare surface with no restraints or soft bedding. Infant inclined sleep products and crib bumpers are dangerous and should not be on the market at all. Yet, they are ubiquitous, and advertised to mislead parents into thinking they are not only safe, but necessary for infant sleep, when in reality they can be deadly. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act recognizes the danger these products pose and would prohibit them from being sold, which will save infant lives and prevent families from enduring tragedy, something far too many pediatricians have seen in our practices. The American Academy of Pediatrics thanks Representative Tony Cárdenas for his leadership on this important legislation and urges swift House passage,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP. 

“We applaud the introduction of the Safe Sleep for Babies Act by Representative Cardenas and Representative Schakowsky,” said Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “This critically important legislation would ban infant inclined sleep products and padded crib bumper pads, both products are linked to dozens of infant deaths. We urge quick passage of this legislation to protect our infants from these known hazards.”

“Infant inclined sleepers and crib bumpers are linked to hundreds of infant deaths and it’s time to ban them once and for all. These products go against evidence-based safe infant sleep recommendations. Consumer Reports applauds the introduction of this essential legislation to help parents keep their babies safe. Every member of Congress should support the bill,” said Oriene Shin, policy counsel at Consumer Reports.

"We thank Rep. Cárdenas for reintroducing the Safe Sleep for Babies Act which will protect our most vulnerable consumers, babies, from dangerous products," said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. "Crib bumper pads and infant inclined sleep products have led to dozens of infant deaths and should be banned immediately. Products that are marketed for infant sleep are meant to be used without constant supervision and parents expect them to be safe. And we thank Chairwoman Schakowsky for her leadership on children's product safety legislation."

"This is a long overdue step to protect our babies by classifying infant sleepers and crib bumpers as banned hazardous products. We are disappointed this didn't move through the Senate last year after it received bipartisan support from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019. We're grateful Rep. Cardenas is reintroducing this legislation and we hope the Senate will finish the job this time. U.S. PIRG's Consumer Watchdog team in 2019 exposed the ongoing threat of inclined sleepers that were still in use in daycares in various states, even though the products had been recalled. We know that dozens of infant deaths were connected to these sleepers. This legislation will help protect millions of babies,” said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog with U.S. Public Interest Research Group. 

Numerous deaths have been linked to crib bumpers and 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. A study from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes that many researchers believe the most common risk factor for sleep related deaths in infants is rolling into crib bumpers in their sleep area. 

In 2019, CPSC issued recalls of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play and Kids II Rocking Sleeper. Still, other inclined sleep products remain on the market, which could falsely signal that they are safe to parents, grandparents, and guardians. 

The Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2019 passed unanimously in the House of Representatives during the 116th Congress.