What is House Bill H.R. 3170?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 3170
In-Depth: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who began her career as a consumer advocate, introduced this bill to prohibit the manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribution in commerce, or import of crib bumpers, which can pose suffocation, strangulation, and choking hazards to infants. Upon introducing this bill, Sen.. Schakowsky said:
“It’s past time for the country to recognize what Chicago long ago knew: crib bumpers aren’t safe and shouldn’t be in cribs. I am proud to introduce the Safe Cribs Act in the House with two of my colleagues from Chicago, Bobby Rush and Robin Kelly. And I thank my friend and fellow Illinoisan Senator Duckworth for leading this effort in the Senate. Together, we will work hard to ensure that no more children die from these unsafe products.”
Senate sponsor Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) says:
“The fact that these deadly products can still be found on shelves across the country is extremely confusing to new parents who don’t believe stores would be selling them if they are truly dangerous to their children. This is a critical safety issue and I’m proud to be working with my colleagues to pass this bill to help new parents and end these preventable deaths.”
Original Senate cosponsor Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) adds:
“When it comes to keeping our children safe, we shouldn’t be taking unnecessary risks. The experts have spoken and their verdict is clear – baby bumpers are not safe and should no longer be sold in our country. States like Maryland are already leading the charge on this issue, and it’s past time for the federal government follow suit. I urge my colleagues to immediately pass this common-sense legislation to prohibit the sale of these dangerous products.”
The Consumer Federation of American (CFA) supports this bill. In a joint press release, it and three other organizations (the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports, and Kids in Danger) write:
“As leading child health and consumer advocacy organizations, we are proud to support H.R.3170 and S.1816, the Safe Cribs Act. For almost a decade our organizations have warned parents against using crib bumper pads and supported state and local actions to ban their sale. This legislation would help prevent more families from experiencing the tragedy of losing a child to crib bumper pads by banning their manufacture, import, and sale altogether. Crib bumper pads are dangerous. Dozens of deaths have been attributed to positional asphyxia or suffocation involving these products. But they still appear on store shelves where new parents or grandparents assume they are safe – in fact many assume they are a safety product – and end up making their child’s sleep space dangerous. The safest sleeping environment for infants is always on their back, on a separate, flat and firm sleep surface without any bumpers or bedding… [W]e urge Congress to advance the Safe Cribs Act without delay… We also call on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to immediately call on retailers and manufacturers to stop selling bumper pads, as they did for a similar product, infant sleep positioners. There is no question: crib bumper pads are dangerous, and have no place in a safe sleep environment or on store shelves.”
This legislation passed the House Committee on Energy and Commerce by a voice vote with the support of 10 Democratic House cosponsors. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), has five Democratic Senate cosponsors. It’s endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Kids in Danger, and Consumer Reports.
Of Note: Crib bumpers were originally invented to keep children from falling out of cribs between widely spaced crib slats. Since 1973, a mandatory crib slat spacing standard has eliminated the original need for crib bumpers. Today, crib bumpers are primarily intended to keep babies from bumping their heads or getting their arms or legs caught in cribs’ rails. Sometimes, parents or caregivers may also use them for their decorative value.
However, some pediatricians and medical experts believe that the minor injuries crib bumpers prevent aren’t worth the serious risks of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that they pose. Since 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that crib bumpers not be used; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shares the same opinion. Despite the AAP’s and NIH’s clear guidance, crib bumpers are still widely sold by leading retailers, and are sometimes even bundled with infant bedding sets.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that 23 babies died from crib bumper-attributed suffocation from 2006-2012. The true number may be even higher: a February 2016 article in the Journal of Pediatrics argued that “there appears to be a substantial CPSC undercounting of [crib bumper] deaths” and found 48 infant deaths attributed to crib bumpers from 1985-2012. In the most recent CPSC staff briefing on crib bumpers, published in September 2016, the agency found a total of 107 fatal and 282 non-fatal incidents related to crib bumpers over the period from January 1, 1990, to March 31, 2016.
Several states and localities — including Chicago, Illinois; Maryland; Ohio; Watchung, New Jersey; and New York — have implemented their own laws either banning crib bumper sales altogether or banning the sale of non-mesh crib bumpers.
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) Press Release
- Original Senate Cosponsor Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Press Release
- Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Others Joint Press Release (In Favor)
- Kids in Danger (In Favor)
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce Report
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Kyryl Gorlov)
Safe Cribs Act of 2019
To prohibit the manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribution in commerce, or importation into the United States of any crib bumper, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Consumer Protection and CommerceCommittee on Energy and CommerceIntroducedJune 10th, 2019
- house Committees