Assembly Panel Clears Stender & Lampitt Bill to Inform New Parents on Crib Safety

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Linda Stender and Pamela Lampitt to require hospitals and birthing facilities to provide new parents information about crib safety recently advanced in the Assembly.

As of June 28, 2011, all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new federal safety standards. In light of several highly publicized incidents involving drop-side cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published new rules that: prohibit the sale of drop-side cribs; require that a crib’s slats, mattress supports, and hardware be more durable in their construction; and require manufacturers to submit cribs to more rigorous testing to show compliance with the new safety standards.

“Many new parents may have the idea that a crib is a crib and that any crib will do,” said Stender. “This is just not the case. Our legislation allows us to take advantage of an opportunity to educate new parents on crib safety. Providing this information underscores the importance of purchasing the right crib for your baby.”

“The numerous crib recalls, re-sales and incidents which have occurred in recent years warrant legislative action,” said Lampitt. “We must do more to educate new parents on safety. It will save our most precious of lives, newborn babies.”

The bill (A-1355) mandates that the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) compile and make available to each hospital and birthing facility in the State informational literature on crib safety, including, but not limited to, information about product recalls, federal standards on the manufacture and sale of cribs, and information from the CPSC on how to keep babies safe in cribs, bassinets, and play yards.

“Birthing facility” is defined in the bill as an inpatient or ambulatory health care facility licensed by the DHSS that provides birthing and newborn care services. DHSS would require each hospital and birthing facility to provide parents with the informational literature which would be distributed to each parent present during the infant’s birth, by staff designated by the hospital or birthing facility, prior to the mother’s discharge, as part of the facility’s discharge procedures.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website explains that many infants die during sleep from unsafe sleep environments. Some of these deaths are from entrapment, suffocation, and strangulation. Some infants die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For more information on crib safety visit the AAP website HealthyChildren.org.

The measure was released by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.