New safe sleeping guidance issued for babies

Parents urged to be extra mindful about sleeping conditions for young children

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a new PSA that instructs parents and caregivers to get "back to basics" when it comes to putting a baby or toddler safely down to sleep.

New guidance is encouraging parents and caregivers to be extra mindful about where babies are sleeping to help avoid dangerous situations.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a new public service announcement encouraging parents to get “back to basics” when it comes to putting a child down for a nap or for the night. The PSA is meant to help parents avoid dangerous situations, like death, caused by unsafe sleeping conditions.

The CPSC’s new guidance focuses on three key sleeping reminders:

Back to Sleep

Officials say it is important to always place a child on their back when putting them down to sleep.

The CPSC says doing so reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or suffocation.

Bare is best

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to keep the sleeping area as bare as possible.

“Just use the fitted sheet only ... and don’t add any additional bedding to that product, that can pose an additional hazard to the baby,” said Nikki Fleming with the CPSC. “No pillows, comforters, even stuffed toys or toys in the space at all.”

Only use products intended for sleep

The CPSC is warning that babies should only sleep in products intended specifically for sleep.

“If for some reason your baby falls asleep in a non-sleep product -- such as a swing, a high chair, or a bouncer seat -- remove that baby from that product and place them in a safe sleep space like a crib, bassinet, play yard or bedside sleeper,” Fleming said.

Officials say an average of 119 infants die each year from problems in a nursery. According to Fleming, most of those fatalities are associated with a cluttered sleep environment, when additional products have been added to the sleep space.

To keep a sleep space safe, a new safety standard for infant sleep products will take effect next year. It targets inclined sleepers, which have been linked to dozens of infant deaths, and was sparked by recalls like of the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play.

Fleming says the product must now meet more stringent standards, which require manufacturers of inclined sleep products to ensure the angle of the sleep surface is lower than 10 degrees.

Despite the recall, products like the Rock ‘n Play have been found on resale sites like Facebook Marketplace. If you’re looking at purchasing a secondhand product, Fleming says to check to make sure that product has not been recalled. In fact, any products you purchase or receive as gifts for the children: be sure to check and see if they have been recalled, just to be safe.

Individuals can sign up for recall email alerts from the CPSC, and there is a website where you can report a problem with a product straight to the government.

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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.