Consumer Product Safety Commission

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Votes to Finalize Important Safety Rule for Crib Mattresses

Unanimous Decision Will Prevent Suffocation Deaths

Washington, D.C. – Our organizations strongly support the action today by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC voted unanimously (4-0) to publish a final rule for crib mattresses. By including aftermarket mattresses in the rule, it will eliminate supplemental mattresses that are intended to be added to mesh play yards in addition to non-full size rigid cribs. All aftermarket mattresses will have to be essentially the same as the original mattress that is sold with the play yard. Replacement mattresses are to be sold to replace a previous mattress; not sold as an additional mattress. The proposed rule will cover all mattresses sold for full-size cribs and requires a firmness test. Soft surfaces have been linked to infant deaths.

Our organizations, along with others in the child safety and public health arenas work tirelessly to educate parents on safe infant sleep. A flat, firm sleep surface is key to that message. The presence of soft mattresses and supplemental mattresses on the market confuses the message and leads to unsafe sleep environments and deaths.

Joyce Davis, president of the non-profit Keeping Babies Safe, said her organization members are “tremendously pleased and relieved” that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recognizes supplemental mattresses can be fatal in portable cribs and play yards. “We filed this petition in 2015 to ban dangerous after-market and supplemental mattresses and have worked tirelessly to educate regulators, lawmakers and consumers about its dangerous misuse, as a clear and evident safety hazard,” Davis said. “Fortunately, our voices have been heard.”

“We applaud the CPSC’s vote today that finalized a critically important rule to make crib mattresses safer,” stated Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “This rule will establish a strong standard for all crib and play yard mattresses to address suffocation and entrapment to provide a safe sleep environment.”

“It was great to see the CPSC vote 4-0 to improve the safety of crib mattresses. This new rule will keep babies safe in sleep products such as cribs, play yards and portable cribs,” stated Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. For the first time, crib mattresses will have to be tested for safety to avoid gaps that might lead to suffocation and dangerously soft surfaces. Play yard replacement mattresses will have to meet the same safety standard as the mattresses sold with the product.”

“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. Countless studies support the need for a firm, flat sleep space as a critical element in reducing sleep-related infant deaths. 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.”

The “Bare is Best” message along with “Back to Sleep,” can lead to a reduction in infant sleep related deaths. A flat, firm sleep surface is key to safe sleep messaging. Soft mattresses or supplemental play yard mattresses on the market pose dangers and confuse the safe sleep message.

We thank the CPSC for finalizing this life-saving rule and look forward to its implementation. View the CPSC’s briefing package for the crib mattress rule from September 2021 here.

Contact: Rachel Weintraub, 202-904-4953