Dr. Pardes, thank you so much for that kind introduction. Good morning everyone. We are here in one of the best hospitals in New York City for such an important reason: to save the lives of babies in New York and all across the country.
Ensuring a safe sleep for babies and toddlers is one of my top priorities as Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We know that the safest place for an infant to sleep is alone in a crib, bassinet or play yard.
I firmly believe that all parents should have confidence in the safety of the cribs, bassinets or play yards they purchase. And they should have confidence that when they put their child to sleep, their child will be safe.
Now, parents and caregivers play a role in safe sleep. As you will hear from many of the distinguished speakers today, babies should be placed to sleep on their back in a crib. Pillows, quilts, thick blankets and sleep positioners should never be put in a crib.
CPSC plays a vital role in ensuring that cribs, bassinets, and play yards are free of defects. When they are found to be unsafe, we recall them. The crib recalls we have announced have been national news. 11 million units recalled over the past 2 years. Think about that, 11 million cribs that need to be fixed, replaced, or in some cases destroyed.
Well, I'm here to announce that the number continues to increase as we have three more drop-side crib recalls to announce today.
Victory Land Group is recalling 34000 Heritage Collection 3-in-1 drop-side cribs that were sold exclusively at Kmart.
Angel Line is recalling 3400 Longwood Forest cribs sold on the Internet.
And Ethan Allen is recalling 3250 drop-side cribs.
All of these cribs are being recalled because they pose serious entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards.
There have been incidents of babies becoming entrapped in these cribs when the drop side detached; but thankfully, these cribs are being recalled before there are any reports of deaths.
We need parents and caregivers to stop using these recalled cribs immediately and call the companies to receive a free drop-side immobilization kit.
For the press and for parents, there is more information about these recalls on our website - CPSC.gov.
Now, let me be clear: at CPSC we take our role as regulators seriously and we will not hesitate to recall a dangerous baby product. But, crib recall after crib recall is not the answer.
The safety standards for cribs must and will be improved. This is a promise I have made to parents all across the country and it is a promise I will keep. By the end of 2010, CPSC will approve a new crib safety rule that will do away with dangerous drop-side designs and it will strengthen the quality of wood, improve mattress supports, and improve the hardware.
The new crib rule, the recalls, and our education efforts are all part of a Safe Sleep Team and Safe Sleep campaign that I have implemented at CPSC. As I stated earlier, this is a top priority.
We want to use our campaign to help ensure that all babies, no matter their circumstances or where they live, have a safe sleep environment.
I would like to close my remarks by recognizing that one of the most important components to our Safe Sleep campaign is our partners. We have great partners in:
Joyce Davis from Keeping Babies Safe, who turned tragedy into advocacy;
Joan Lunden, a nationally known journalist and a wonderful author and mother;
Dr. Marion Burton, the new head of AAP and a fellow South Carolinian; and
Doctor Pardes and Doctor Bregstein, who are leading care providers in the community.
We are going to show you a brand new and very exciting educational video at the end of this event, where you will see how we are joining together to help educate new parents. On behalf of CPSC, thank you all for your support with this video.
I would like to recognize one more partner - Text4Baby. Text4Baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health.
It is an educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and was formed by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. CPSC is proud to be a partner with Text4Baby, as they have already sent out millions of text messages promoting safety to pregnant women. Log on to Text4Baby.org to learn about this program.
Thank you to the media for coming out today and to all the staff at the hospital and partner organizations who helped organize this event.
Please remember, CPSC stands for safety, especially the safety of babies.