WASHINGTON, D.C. –The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a new federal mandatory safety standard that will ensure crib mattresses, as well as after-market mattresses used in play yards and cribs, are safer for babies.  

CPSC is aware of at least 494 incidents, including 139 fatalities and 355 nonfatal incidents related to crib mattresses, which occurred between January 2010 and April 2021. The hazard patterns associated with crib mattresses include design-related issues and compression of the mattress, resulting in asphyxiation or suffocation. 

“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,” said Commissioner Rich Trumka Jr.

By the fall of 2022, crib mattresses and after-market mattresses used in play yards and portable cribs will be required to meet the new federal safety standard. The mandatory standard will require improved marking, labeling, and instructions to communicate better the risks of injuries to consumers. The new standard addresses several hazards, such as lacerations from coil springs and excessively soft mattresses. It also requires that any mattress sold for use in a play yard, meet the same requirements as the original mattress so that babies do not suffocate in a gap between the mattress and the flexible sides of the play yard. 

“Today’s vote means crib mattresses of all sizes will be required to meet safety standards,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “This will improve safety for babies sleeping in cribs and play yards.”   

The new federal rule aims to further reduce the risk of injury-related to: 

  • Suffocation hazards from overly soft crib mattresses, by adding a test for mattress firmness.
  • Entrapment hazards: 
    • Full-size crib mattresses – due to poor mattress fit from compression by sheets.
    • After-market, non-full-size crib mattresses – due to sizing. 
  • Laceration hazards due to coils and springs breaking and poking through mattresses.

It also includes marking, labeling, and instructional literature improvements – to clarify for manufacturers and test labs, and to communicate better to consumers the risks of SIDS and suffocation related to infant positioning, soft bedding, and gap entrapment.

CPSC reminds consumers that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a flat, bare crib. For more on safe sleep practices, click here.

For more information on Section 104(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act), which requires the Commission to issue consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, click here. 

The Commission voted 4 to 0 to approve the standard.

Crib and play yard mattresses are now among the more than 20 durable nursery products with mandatory standards, along with infant sleep products, bassinets, play yards, bedside sleepers, swings, toddler beds, bouncer seats, and changing tables.  

This new federal rule incorporates by reference ASTM F2933 – 21, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Crib Mattresses.

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