Between January 2010 and April 2021, 139 fatalities and 355 injuries related to crib mattresses, occurred, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
By the fall of 2022, crib mattresses and replacements mattresses for play yards and portable cribs, will be required to meet the new mandatory standard. It includes improved marking, labeling, and instructions to better communicate the risks of injuries.
The new standard addresses hazards, such as lacerations from coil springs poking through mattresses and excessively soft mattresses. A test for mattress firmness will prevent suffocation from overly soft crib mattresses.
It also requires that any replacement mattress sold for use in a play yard meet the same requirements as the original mattress, so that babies don’t suffocate in a gap between the mattress and the flexible sides of the play yard.
“Today’s vote means crib mattresses of all sizes will be required to meet safety standards,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “This will improve safety for babies sleeping in cribs and play yards.”
The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a flat, bare crib, the CPSC recommends. The baby needs to be placed on its back.
Crib and play yard mattresses are now among the more than 20 durable nursery products with mandatory standards, along with infant sleep products, bassinets, play yards, bedside sleepers, swings, toddler beds, bouncer seats, and changing tables.
“The need for an infant mattress standard is long overdue, and we commend the Commission for voting in favor of infant safety,” said Michelle Barry of Safe Infant Sleep.
Caregivers shouldn’t have to wade through hundreds of options to find a mattress that is firm enough, said Barry.
“Countless studies support the need for a firm, flat sleep space as a critical element in reducing sleep-related infant deaths,” she said. “Parents and caregivers have to make enough choices for the health and safety of their baby – they should be able to know that a mattress meets firmness standards without having to guess. We look forward to the day the standard is in effect.”