Posted on: Thursday, September 11, 2008
ARE YOU BUYING THIS?
Don't put pillows in cribs, federal agency tells parents
For more information, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall Hotline: 800-638-2772 or find more online at www.cpsc.gov.
Federal consumer officials are warning parents and others who care for infants to keep pillows out of cribs to keep babies safer.
Using pillows in cribs, along with the hazards that drawstring jackets pose for young children, are among the top areas of child safety concern cited by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Not a month goes by without some jacket being recalled. But the best and simplest way to always avoid the danger is to remove the drawstring from clothing for young children who might accidentally be strangled by the cords.
The federal agency urges all parents to refrain from putting any kind of pillow in the crib because of the high risk of suffocation and entrapment. Between January 2006 and May 2008, the commission said there were at least 47 infant deaths associated with pillow use in the sleeping environment.
In the 16 years between January 1992 and May 2008, pillows and cushions have been associated with 531 infant deaths.
The commission is trying to get the word out among expectant parents, who might not be aware of the warning, according to acting chairwoman Nancy Nord. "Babies represent our most precious and vulnerable population."
The commission says:
To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and suffocation, place baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib that meets current safety standards.
To prevent suffocation, never use a pillow as a mattress for baby to sleep on, or to prop baby's head or neck.
Infants can be strangled if their bodies pass through gaps, broken slats and other parts of the crib, especially if they get their head and neck trapped in the space.
Do not use old, broken or modified cribs.
Regularly tighten hardware to keep sides firm.
Infants can suffocate in spaces between the sides of the crib and an ill-fitting mattress; never allow a gap larger than two finger widths at any point between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
Never place a crib near a window with blind or curtain cords; infants can strangle on the cords.
The commission also sent out a new warning yesterday about a variety of safety issues around the house.
Play yards. They urge families to make sure they properly set up play yards according to manufacturers' directions. And that means only use the mattress provided with the play yard. Don't add extra mattresses, pillows or cushions to the play yard, which could be a suffocation hazard for infants.
Toy chests. Look for a toy chest that has a support that will hold the hinged lid open in any position. Or buy one with a detached lid or doors, or remove the lid yourself to prevent pinching or slamming injuries.
Small parts. For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. The easiest way to figure that is with a toilet paper tube. If something can fit in there, it's a choking hazard for children younger than age 3.
Magnets. For children younger than age 8, the commission proposes avoiding toy building sets with small magnets because if they are swallowed, they pose a risk for serious injuries and/or death.
Age appropriate. Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the child. Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts. For children younger than age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
Tippy furniture. Check that furniture is stable on its own because children will climb. For added security, anchor to the floor or attach to a wall.
Cover outlets. Use outlet covers and outlet plates to help prevent electrocution from curious children who will poke fingers and objects into uncovered outlets.
The commission encourages parents to routinely check toys and nursery products against recall lists and remove recalled products from your home. You can sign up for automatic e-mail recall notifications at www.cpsc.gov.
Reach Robbie Dingeman at email@example.com or 535-2429.