Posts Tagged ‘ crib safety ’

Toxic Chemicals Found in Crib Mattresses

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic chemicals often found in household cleansers and paints, have been found in the polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding materials found in many crib mattresses.  More on the new study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin:

The researchers studied samples of polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding from 20 new and old crib mattresses. Graduate student Brandon Boor, in the Cockrell School’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, conducted the study under the supervision of assistant professor Ying Xu and associate professor Atila Novoselac. Boor also worked with senior researcher Helena Järnström from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. They reported their findings in the February issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

The researchers found:

  • New crib mattresses release about four times as many VOCs as old crib mattresses.
  • Body heat increases emissions.
  • Chemical emissions are strongest in the sleeping infant’s immediate breathing zone.

The researchers concluded that, on average, mattresses emitted VOCs at a rate of 87.1 micrograms per square meter per hour, while older mattresses emitted VOCs at a rate of 22.1 micrograms per square meter per hour. Overall, Boor said crib mattresses release VOCs at rates comparable to other consumer products and indoor materials, including laminate flooring (20 to 35 micrograms per square meter per hour) and wall covering (51 micrograms per square meter per hour).

Boor became motivated to conduct the study after finding out that infants spend 50 to 60 percent of their day sleeping. Infants are considered highly susceptible to the adverse health effects of exposure to indoor air pollutants.

“I wanted to know more about the chemicals they may inhale as they sleep during their early stages of development,” he said. “This research also helps to raise awareness about the various chemicals that may be found in crib mattresses, which are not typically listed by manufacturers.”

The 20 mattress samples are from 10 manufacturers. The researchers chose not to disclose the names of the manufacturers studied so that their results could draw general attention to the product segment without focusing on specific brands.

At present, not much is known about the health effects that occur from the levels of VOCs found in homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Researchers advised parents to allow new mattresses to air out in a garage or protected porch for as long a period as possible before placing it in a child’s crib.

Track Baby’s milestones with our helpful tool.

Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery

Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock

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New SIDS Prevention Recommendations Issued

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), where infants die of unexplained cause before age 1, has declined dramatically since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending that babies be placed on their backs to sleep.  But at its annual meeting in Boston this week, the AAP said that sleep-related deaths for other reasons, including entrapment or suffocation, have been on the rise, prompting the group to issue new guidelines for safe sleep.

The group made the following recommendations:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).

For more, visit the AAP website http://www.healthychildren.org/.

 

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Chicago Outlaws Crib Bumper Pads, Citing Safety Concerns

Friday, September 9th, 2011

This week the Chicago City Council adopted an ordinance banning the sale of crib bumper pads after learning they may have played a role in the deaths of a least a dozen babies, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Many families think of bumper pads as an essential way to keep babies cozy in the crib,  but “babies can lack the motor skills and strength to turn their heads if they roll against something that blocks their breathing,” The Tribune said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission already recommends that parents keep anything soft—such as pillows, quilts, and “pillow-like bumper pads,”—out of a baby’s bed to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But Nancy Maruyama, of SIDS of Illinois, pointed out that parents see bumper pads in stores, and think “if (stores) sell it, it must be safe,” she told the Tribune.

The state of Maryland is considering a similar ban, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it is studying the safety of bumper pads.

Chicago Aldermen were motivated by stories in The Chicago Tribune in March. The paper reported that federal regulators investigated at least a dozen cases where crib bumpers appeared to play a role in a baby’s death, but investigators ultimately said it wasn’t clear the pads were to blame. So reporters took a closer look at records about the deaths. From the Tribune:

[I]n reviewing the agency’s own records, the Tribune found that in many of those cases, babies who died had their faces pressed into bumper pads.

The Tribune also found at least 17 additional cases in which the safety agency did not investigate a child’s death even though the agency had reports on file suggesting bumper pads played roles in the fatalities.

The Chicago bumper pad ban will take effect in about seven months.

(image via: http://kidsindanger.blogspot.com)

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New Crib Safety Guidelines: What Parents Need to Know

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Starting Tuesday, June 28, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ban on drop-side cribs will take effect.  The cribs, which allow parents to lower one side of the crib for easier access, are responsible for 150 suffocation and strangulation deaths between 2007 to 2010.

The CPSC voted unanimously to overhaul the rules governing crib safety in July 2010, the first such move in nearly 30 years.

Manufacturers and retailers must make and sell only compliant beginning tomorrow, but rental cribs, such as are available in hotels, child care centers, and furniture rental companies, have until December of 2012 to comply with the new rules.

The new standards:

  • Ban drop-side construction altogether, requiring instead that cribs have fixed sides.
  • Require that mattress supports are stronger.
  • Improve the strength of the crib slats.
  • Require that crib hardware be more durable and less likely to fail.
  • Make crib safety testing more rigorous.

“I am very pleased that the new mandatory crib standards will stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous traditional drop-side cribs and will vastly improve the structural integrity of cribs,” said CPSC chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum in a statement.

The CPSC has published a Q&A for parents (visit the drop-side crib info page and scroll down to the “Consumers” section) with information on what drop-side crib owners can do.  Some key points families should know:

  • Families should not sell or donate a drop-side crib, even if it has been been fitted with immobilizing hardware.  Disassemble and discard the crib instead.
  • Parents can see if their particular drop-side crib has been recalled, and request a free hardware kit to immobilize the drop-side.
  • Some manufacturers may consider offering incentives or partial refunds for drop-side cribs, though they are not required by law to do so.
  • If you have a drop-side crib and are unable to purchase a new crib, check your crib’s hardware frequently, do not use the drop-side function, and check regularly to see if your crib has been recalled.

For more on crib safety, see:

And for more on product recalls that might affect your family, consult Parents.com’s Toy and Product Recall Finder.

(image via: http://babycribcom.com/)

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