The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously today to ban infant cushions. To date, CPSC has reports of 36 deaths involving these products. These deaths include a death reported in May 1992 involving an infant cushion previously recalled. The Commission obtained the recall of these products from the marketplace in April 1990, because of their involvement in infant deaths.
The Commission's action today stems from the concern that other manufacturers might begin production of the same or similar products. "A ban of infant cushions can assure that this product does not reappear into the marketplace," said Chairman Jacqueline Jones-Smith.
There are five essential features that define the infant cushions affected by the ban. The cushions have soft fabric coverings; are loosely filled with a granular material such as plastic foam beads or pellets; are easily flattened to create a "nest" so that the infant lies prone on them; are capable of conforming to the face or body of an infant; and are intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age. Of these features, the key characteristic that probably contributes most to deaths is the ability of the cushions to conform to an infant's face or body.
In almost all of the incidents reported to CPSC, where the position of the child could be determined, the children were lying on their stomachs. In all but two of the incidents, the infant was less than four months old.
In addition to publishing the final rule to ban future production of infant cushions, the Commission also urges consumers who may still have infant cushions to call the Commission's toll-free hotline at 1-800-638- 2772 for recall information and instructions. If the manufacturer of the infant cushion cannot be identified, the Commission urges that the cushion be destroyed immediately. The recently reported death underscores that infant cushions not destroyed may find their way back into infant use at a later date.
The CPSC's findings for the infant cushion actions are the impetus for a Commission sponsored study. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role bedding and other soft products may play in infant suffocations. In the conduct of this study, the CPSC is working closely with medical researchers and other organizations involved in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) research. The CPSC project may help answer some of the questions posed by the sudden death of infants.
The CPSC is taking these actions as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The CPSC is the federal agency responsible for consumer product safety. Some 15,000 different kinds of consumer products fall within the Commission's jurisdiction and each year these products are involved in an estimated 28.5 million injuries and 21,600 deaths.
About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.
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