April 20, 2021

Duckworth, Portman, Blumenthal Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Infants from Deadly “Crib Bumpers”


Since 1985, dozens of deaths and more than 100 serious injuries have been directly attributed to these dangerous products

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation today with the support of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to protect infant lives by banning the sale of crib bumpers, which have been proven to pose an unnecessary, deadly risk to sleeping infants. The Safe Cribs Act would also make it unlawful nationwide to manufacture and import crib bumpers, which remain widely sold by retailers despite current recommendations advising parents to keep cribs bare to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. The Senators’ legislation would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to enforce a ban nationwide.

“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 were truly dangerous to babies,” Duckworth said. “We should be doing everything we can to help new parents and end preventable deaths like these, which is why I’m proud to be introducing this bipartisan bill with Senators Portman and Blumenthal that would ban the sale of deadly padded crib bumpers.”

“The use of crib bumpers pose an unnecessary threat to the health and safety of infants everywhere, there is no reason the sale of these dangerous items should continue,” said Portman. “My home state of Ohio has already banned these harmful products. Congress must also act to protect infants from an unnecessary and unacceptable risk.”

“This bill would ensure deadly and dangerous crib bumpers are pulled off store shelves,” said Blumenthal. “New parents can still unwittingly purchase this perilous padding for their children’s cribs despite dozens of babies suffocating. I’m glad to back this bipartisan effort with Senators Duckworth and Portman to prevent more needless tragedies.”

The legislation has been endorsed by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Kids in Danger, Consumer Federation of American, Consumer Reports, Public Citizen and Breathable Baby.

“The only way to minimize the serious hazard that padded crib bumpers pose to children is to ensure that these products are taken off store shelves nationwide, which is exactly what the Safe Cribs Act seeks to do,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “We applaud the introduction of this important bipartisan legislation and urge swift passage to protect infants in the United States.”

“Pediatricians know that the safest sleep environment for babies is a firm, flat, bare surface,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP. “Crib bumpers have no place in a safe sleep environment – they pose a risk of suffocation for infants and should not be on the market. The Safe Cribs Act would protect infant lives and help prevent families from experiencing tragedy by prohibiting the sale of these dangerous products. The American Academy of Pediatrics thanks Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation and is urging for its swift passage into law.”

“Crib bumpers pads pose a real risk of suffocation and confuse parents on how best to create a safe sleep environment,” said Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger (KID). It is hard to convince parents to follow the ‘bare is best’ safe sleep messaging of removing padded items such as pillows from the crib when they are being sold padding to wrap around the crib at the same time.”

“Medical experts advise that parents and caregivers should keep cribs free of any extra bedding, yet crib bumpers muddle this message and could lead parents to unwittingly put their baby at risk," said Oriene Shin, Policy Counsel for Consumer Reports. "Consumer Reports applauds this essential bipartisan legislation aimed at keeping babies safe from these unnecessary and hazardous products. We urge all members of Congress to support the bill." 

“The message from public health officials is clear," said Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights at Public Citizen. "When it comes to baby cribs, ‘bare is best.’ Ensuring that babies sleep in a bare crib without soft objects like crib bumpers is in line with the recommendations of both the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and national consumer and public health organizations. Public Citizen supports this commonsense, bipartisan legislation because it is supported by science, and we urge the Senate to swiftly pass it." 

Duckworth has been a leading proponent of policies supporting working women and families in the Senate. After introducing legislation to help families with diaper needs in February of this year, Duckworth helped secure provisions in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to support low-income families with diapers and diapering supplies. Duckworth’s Friendly Airports for Mothers Improvement Act was also signed into law last November, which means that airports all across the country are now required to support nursing mothers by providing accessible, clean and convenient lactation rooms for travelers. Duckworth also introduced a bipartisan bill in May of last year that would have ensured more new parents quickly received the additional $500 per child in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus payments without having to wait until 2021.

In 2011, the City of Chicago became the first city to ban the sale of crib bumpers. Maryland and Ohio also banned the sale of these products in 2013 and 2017 respectively, with minor exceptions.