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As Holiday Season Commences, Continued Warnings Against Infant Inclined Sleepers

On Thanksgiving Eve last week, Consumer Reports sent letters to 15 retail giants and online sellers.  The message was clear: immediately stop selling inclined infant sleepers. 

In October, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a new study, concluding parents and caregivers should stop using any sleepers with inclined seat backs of more than 10 degrees.  The study was launched after the CPSC received reports of 1,108 incidents — including 73 infant deaths — related to infant inclined sleep products from January 2005 through June 2019.  The study, led by a biomechanics expert, examined how various products and positions affect infants’ movements and breathing.  The results showed not one of the 14 inclined sleeper products evaluated was safe for infant use. 

In response, the CPSC has introduced a proposed rule to ban inclined sleepers from the market.  The CPSC also issued a warning to consumers to immediately stop using infant sleep products with inclined seat backs of more than 10 degrees – emphasizing:

[T]he best place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard. Parents and caregivers should never add blankets, pillows or other items to an infant’s sleeping environment. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs. 

But many parents and caregivers are still using infant inclined sleepers – and even continue to find them available for purchase online and in stores. 

On November 4, 2019, Consumer Reports sent a letter to manufacturers, asking them to immediately recall all infant sleepers with an inclined back surface.  And in a press release on November 26, 2019, the group called for the CPSC to issue additional product recalls.  The same day though, the CSPC and TJX Companies issued a joint warning that T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods stores had continued selling certain inclined sleeper products even after they were recalled.

In its letter to sellers last week, Consumer Reports urged for all inclined sleep products to be removed from store shelves and websites. This week, eBay responded that it will ban all infant inclined sleepers from its website and has begun enforcing the ban by targeting particularly risky products.  As of yesterday, other companies including Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, and Target, had yet to respond.

Post by: Sarah Schindler, Esq., Kolsby Gordon Robin & Shore

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