CPSC, National SAFE KIDS Campaign Announce Crib Safety Initiative; Bass Hotels and Resorts Joins Safety Campaign

February 22, 2000
Release Number: 00071

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign today announced a crib and play yard safety initiative to keep children safe when traveling with their families. Recent spot checks by SAFE KIDS found unsafe cribs and play yards in 80 percent of hotels and motels visited.

Bass Hotels & Resorts, which includes the Inter-Continental, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Crowne Plaza brands is joining the new safety initiative. CPSC invited 24 national hotel chains to participate in the safety initiative, but only Bass Hotels & Resorts agreed. CPSC and SAFE KIDS are encouraging other hotels and motels to participate and have prepared safety information that they can use to ensure their cribs are not hazardous.

Bass Hotels & Resorts will provide additional training for staff and hold a "Crib Safety Week" where each hotel's housekeeping and maintenance staff will conduct a thorough inspection of all cribs and play yards. The ongoing inspections will help ensure that the cribs and play yards meet current safety standards, are in good repair and have not been recalled. Bass Hotels & Resorts also plans to include crib safety information in hotel publications and on its website, and promote crib safety in media events targeted to begin around Mother's Day. The company has 2,800 hotels worldwide, including more than 1,300 in the United States.

Many traveling families use cribs and play yards provided by motels and hotels. Estimates show that children under age 2 spend more than 7 million nights per year in hotels, motels and resorts. CPSC estimates that there are about 65,000 hotels and motels in the U.S.

SAFE KIDS recently visited 90 hotels and motels in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Of the cribs inspected, 82 percent had at least one safety hazard, including loose hardware or lack of secured mattress supports that could entrap a baby; soft bedding, including quilts, comforters or pillows that could cause suffocation; and adult- sized sheets that pose a strangulation and suffocation hazard. Of the play yards and mesh cribs inspected, 52 percent had at least one safety hazard, including tears or holes in the meshing, which pose an entrapment risk to babies, and soft bedding.

The SAFE KIDS spot check gives a snapshot of what consumers might find while traveling.

Each year, about 40 babies suffocate or strangle in their cribs when they become trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe designs. Soft bedding such as quilts, comforters or pillows can suffocate a baby. As many as 3,000 infants die each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and up to one-third of these may have suffocated on soft bedding. CPSC recommends that a baby under 12 months be put to sleep in a crib on his or her back with no soft bedding. Adult sheets should never be used in a crib because they pose a strangulation and suffocation risk to babies. Hotels and motels should provide fitted crib sheets in good condition that fit the mattress securely.

"Whether the hotel is on 5th Avenue or Main Street, there's no guarantee the crib you request will be safe and in good repair," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Parents who are traveling should not have to worry about the place they put their child down to sleep. I'm pleased that Bass Hotels and Resorts is joining this safety campaign. I'm very disappointed that other hotels are not participating."

Heather Paul, Executive Director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, said: "This informal assessment simply raises a red flag for the hotel industry that they might unknowingly be putting babies at risk. We want hotels to know there are simple steps they can take to help ensure a safe sleeping environment for their youngest guests."

Thomas R. Oliver, Chairman and CEO of Bass Hotels & Resorts, said: "The safety of all of our guests has always been one of the foundations of our business. We are committed to taking the necessary steps to help ensure that the cribs in use at our properties around the world are safe for our youngest guests."

CPSC and SAFE KIDS have prepared information that hotels and motels, as well as consumers, can use to make sure cribs and play yards are not hazardous. The information will be made available to hotels and motels to help them develop their own safety programs. Local SAFE KIDS chapters will distribute a crib safety checklist to hotels and motels around the country. Hotels and motels can download the crib and play yard safety inspection checklist and CPSC crib safety and recall information here or by calling the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772.

CPSC encourages parents to ask ahead if the hotel or motel in which they are planning to stay has a system in place to ensure their cribs are safe.

video icon  Conumers can also view a video clip about crib safety (Transcript). It is about 9 megabytes long and the download time depends upon the speed of your Internet connection.