Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning caregivers about the dangers of loose or oversized sheets in babies' cribs. Since 1984, CPSC has learned of the deaths of 17 babies, most under 12 months old, who suffocated or strangled when they became entangled in sheets in their cribs or beds. Two of these deaths were with fitted crib sheets.
CPSC has worked to strengthen safety requirements for fitted crib sheets. An industry standard requires crib sheets to have a warning label that says "Prevent suffocation or entanglement. Never use crib sheet unless it fits securely on crib mattress." CPSC also has pushed industry to improve the fit of crib sheets on mattresses.
CPSC has issued a safety alert on this hidden hazard and is working to distribute this information to pediatrician's offices through the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The information will be published in the June issue of the Academy's membership newsmagazine, AAP News, which reaches 55,000 pediatricians nationwide. Starting today, the safety alert will be posted on the AAP News' Web site, www.aapnews.org.
"This is a hidden hazard that even the best caregiver may not know about," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "We are pleased the American Academy of Pediatrics is helping us get the word out to parents."
CPSC offers the following tips on ensuring a safer sleeping environment for babies:
- Make sure the crib sheet fits snugly on a crib mattress and overlaps the mattress so it cannot be dislodged by pulling on the corner of the sheet.
- Never use an adult sheet on a crib mattress; it can come loose and present an entanglement hazard to young children.
- Place a baby on his/her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib meeting current safety standards.
- Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, and sheepskins from the crib.
To get a free copy of the crib sheet safety alert, write to CPSC, Washington, D.C. 20207, email CPSC at firstname.lastname@example.org, or get it here (also available in pdf which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of
thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the
nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or
mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household
chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
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