CPSC Forum on Crib Bumpers
The forum was held to help inform and enable the CPSC to make a ruling on crib bumpers.
Notable participants also included:
Joshua Sharfstein, MD Johns, who banned crib bumpers (excluding vertical crib liners) in Maryland
Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP American Academy of Pediatrics
Benjamin Hoffman, MD, CPST-1, FAAP American Academy of Pediatrics
Alison Jacobson, CEO/Executive Director First Candle
James Dickerson, Chief Scientific Officer, Director Consumer Reports
Kelly Mariotti, JD, CPA, CAE, Executive Director Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
Bradley Thach, MD Neonatologist, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Based on the Commissioners' and Chairman Adler's comments, there was no doubt the CPSC intends to remove (traditional) crib bumpers from the market. The issue at hand is the approach that they legally can take to do it. All participants believed that it is truly the responsibility of CPSC to regulate this product; however currently other states and even Congress, are taking matters into their own hands given their impatience with a resolution. The CPSC's mission is to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths from consumer products by issuing and enforcing mandatory standards and banning consumer products if no standard would adequately protect the public.
The CPSC is attempting to eliminate the risk of injury or death caused by crib bumpers by suggesting a reclassification of them as a durable product and then enforcing new, more rigorous standards than the current ASTM voluntary standards on infant bedding. However, according to SEC. 8 [15 U.S.C. § 2057], if no no feasible consumer product safety standard would adequately protect the public from the unreasonablerisk of injury associated with such product, the Commission may, in accordance with section 9, [15 U.S.C. § 2058],promulgate a rule declaring such product a banned hazardous product.
Unfortunately, the CPSC appears quite reluctant to enforce Sec. 8 and prefers to enlist a series of standards that will do absolutely nothing to protect children from the hazards of continuous, horizontal bumpers. Their own studies have already proven that such bumpers, thick, thin or mesh are dangerous. The Commission's Staff admits that many of the proposed performance requirements are not even feasible to assess or test. They also overlook a critical variable in many crib bumper deaths: parental and infant interaction with the product.
Advocating that bumpers be banned and never used, while suggesting that performance requirements be implemented is at the heart of the confusion, lack of direction and the current state-by-state ban going on because the agency does not seem to have the power we thought it did. It is one thing to enact a standard that would have an immediate benefit and improve the overall design, but it is the inherent horizontal and continuous design that is flawed. Any bumper running perpendicular to the slats of a crib is going to be hazardous.
The best approach would be to define the scope of definition as any continuous, horizontal bumper,including thick, thin or mesh, then there would be no standardthat would adequately protect the public. It is the horizontal design that causes an unreasonable risk and that cannot be eliminated by any standard. Although vertical crib liners are outside the scope of definition that the CPSC is using, it is important that the message regarding vertical crib liners remain clear and separate from that of horizontal bumpers. Vertical crib liners remain the safest crib bedding option available.