Assemblyman: Mattresses Are Proven Fatal, Must Be Removed from Shelves
Assemblyman Jamel Holley has introduced legislation calling for a ban on the sale of supplemental baby mattresses in New Jersey, calling them an “undisputed health hazard” for infants, and pressed for their immediate removal from shelves.
“There is this perception that if a product is sold by a major retailer, it must unequivocally be safe,” said Holley (D-Union). “But we continually hear stories of babies being injured or killed when a supplemental mattress is used in a soft-sided play yard. Manufacturers of this product are quick to deny the obvious harm, while retailers are focused on selling product. As a state lawmaker, my focus is protecting the public.”
Holley noted he crafted legislation (A-4909) consistent with a petition now before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that calls for a ban on the sale of supplemental baby mattresses nationally. The CPSC is expected to rule on the petition in late 2016, after receiving public comment this fall that overwhelmingly supported the ban.
“But we can’t wait until the federal decision is made,” Holley said. “We know these products are dangerous. We know they are being sold by the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Target. And we know they need to be removed. So, I am doing what I can to stop this sale. I hope my fellow lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie share my urgency.”
Holley’s legislation, introduced Thursday, has received the strong support of Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), a Warren-based non-profit organization that has been aggressively advocating for the removal of supplemental mattresses from stores. KBS has been instrumental in successfully encouraging Toys R Us, Kmart, Sears, buy buy Baby and Wayfair to stop selling the product.
“Assemblyman Holley joins a number of lawmakers and safety experts across the country who are joining this campaign to ban supplemental mattresses,” said Joyce Davis, founder of KBS, whose son suffocated when sleeping on a supplemental mattress. “The fight continues, as we are dealing with manufacturers who make their living by selling a product that can kill infants and don’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions. Only through legislative action – such as the efforts of lawmakers like Assemblyman Holley – we can finally protect families.”
Davis noted the use of supplemental mattresses is heightened during the holiday season, when families are travelling and using play yards and portable cribs. A supplemental mattress is often placed in a soft-sided play yard because it is perceived to be more comfortable; however, a baby can easily fall through the gap on the side of the crib that the supplemental mattress creates and suffocate.
“We are pleading with families to not use supplemental mattresses in soft-sided play yards,” Davis said. “Families should just use the pad that the manufacturer provides. It is the only way to ensure the baby sleeps safely.”
Learn more about the issue at KeepingBabiesSafe.org