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Monday January 31, 2022

Commissioners Pass Crib Updates 4-0 in Section 104 Vote

Commissioners January 26 voted 4-0 to approve a final rule on crib mattresses. There were not amendments. Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric and Commissioner Peter Feldman both lauded the action as a good example of the Section 104 process, especially allowance for updates when standards groups revise the underlying standards.


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In this case, CPSC is amending 16 CFR 1120 and 1121 based on recent revisions to ASTM F2933-21, but with CPSC-added requirements. Those address suffocation on too-soft mattresses, entrapment due to mattress compression and dimension, laceration from coil springs poking through, and marketing/labeling/instructions about use.


Commissioner Dana Baiocco acknowledged hesitancy due to concerns about parents going against bare-is-best advice due to perceptions about comfort caused by thickness of, for example, the required play yard mattresses.


On the other hand, she referred to a need for standards groups to "pick up the pace" in their work. Commissioner Richard Trumka agreed, saying it was important for the commission to not "have our pace dictated."


Trumka, after the session, issued this statement:

"Today, we fixed a long-standing gap in safety standards for baby products. We’ve long known that the safest place for a baby to sleep is on their back, on a firm, flat surface, with nothing else cluttering the space. But until today CPSC did not have safety standards for the one item left in the baby’s sleep space – the mattress. Babies will be safer because of CPSC's rule to improve crib mattress safety."

Consumer Federation of America and Kids In Danger issued a joint statement that included:

"Our organizations strongly support the action today…By including aftermarket mattresses in the rule, it will eliminate supplemental mattresses that are intended to be added to mesh play yards in addition to non-full size rigid cribs. All aftermarket mattresses will have to be essentially the same as the original mattress that is sold with the play yard. Replacement mattresses are to be sold to replace a previous mattress; not sold as an additional mattress.

Feldman asked that a recently received letter from Dream On Me be added to the docket. It addressed his January 24 meeting with the company on concerns about eliminating aftermarket play yard mattresses, leading dangerous actions like use of pillows. It covered amending the rule to allow for 2-inch thicknesses versus 1½ as well as related topics like gap measurement tools, data validation, and more.


Meanwhile, CPSC, in November, received two still-undocketed petitions on the matter. One addresses manufacturing tolerances for mattress thickness and setting a maximum thickness of 3 inches. The other seeks standardization of play yard perimeters and mattresses dimensions.