CSPC Issues Crib-Related Death Alert

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents and caregivers to add a safe sleep environment to the daily routine of placing baby to sleep as its staff has become aware of 97 crib related deaths from 2002 through 2004.

A CPSC staff analysis of reports of deaths related to cribs--available at www.cpsc.gov/library/nursery06.pdf--found that about half of the deaths were in cribs containing pillows, quilts, and other bedding. About half of these were due to suffocation when infants ended up face down on pillows or face down in a crib with pillows, quilts, and other bedding.

Thirty-percent of crib deaths were attributed to entrapment between components of old cribs that were in bad condition, with broken or missing parts or loose hardware, and entrapment in spaces generated between the sides of a crib and an ill-fitted mattress.

The remainder of the deaths were associated with accessories situated in/around the crib (such as window cords or curtain tie backs), falls out of cribs, alterations made to cribs, or entrapment when the child became wedged between the crib and other furniture or a wall.

CPSC is urging parents:

  • To reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation by always placing a baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib that meets current safety standards.
  • To prevent suffocation, never use a pillow as a mattress for baby to sleep on or to prop baby's head or neck.
  • Do not use old, broken, or modified cribs and regularly tighten hardware to keep sides firm. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps generated between loose components, broken slats, and other parts of the crib, and their head and neck become entrapped in the space.
  • Never allow a gap larger than two fingers at any point between the sides of the crib and the mattress. Infants can suffocate in spaces generated between the sides of the crib and an ill-fitted mattress.
  • Never place a crib near a window with blind or curtain cords; infants can strangle on curtain or blind cords.
  • Properly set up play yards according to manufacturers' directions. Only use the mattress provided with the play yard. Do not add extra mattresses, pillows, or cushions to the play yard, which can cause a suffocation hazard for infants.
  • Routinely check nursery products against CPSC recall lists and remove recalled products from your home.
  • Sign-up for automatic e-mail recall notifications at www.cpsc.gov.

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