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Report finds Soft Bedding a Factor in Playpen Deaths

CPSC, Mattel Launch Campaign to Alert Caregivers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report on deaths in playpens. Since 1988, CPSC has reports of more than 200 babies who died while in playpens. In almost 100 of these deaths, soft bedding or improper or extra mattresses were present in the playpen and the babies died of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). More than 70 percent of these deaths were to babies less than 12 months old. Twenty-six of the playpen deaths occurred in a daycare setting.

Over the years, playpens, portable cribs and play yards have evolved into virtually identical products. Parents use playpens today as places for babies to both sleep and play. To educate caregivers, CPSC and Mattel, Inc. are launching a "Sleep Safe, Play Safe" campaign to address the two greatest hazards revealed by the study: 1) adding soft bedding, and 2) adding extra mattresses or cushions.

For years, CPSC has warned about the dangers of soft bedding such as quilts, comforters and pillows in cribs. Soft bedding can become molded around an infant's face and cause suffocation. As many as one-third of baby deaths attributed to SIDS, in fact, may be suffocation in soft bedding.

"Many parents and caregivers know the dangers of soft bedding in cribs," said CPSC Chairwoman Ann Brown. "This study shows, for the first time, that the same dangers exist when using pillows, quilts and comforters in playpens."

The findings emphasize the need for caregivers to be aware that the same safe sleeping guidelines that they follow for their babies' cribs should be followed in these playpens. That means placing baby on his back on a firm, flat mattress and not adding extra mattresses or any soft bedding, such as pillows, quilts or comforters.

"At Mattel, the well-being of children is an inherent part of the reason for our organization to exist and we reflect this in all that we do," said Jim Walter, vice president of corporate product integrity for Mattel. "We are happy to be working with the CPSC on the 'Sleep Safe, Play Safe' campaign."

CPSC, in partnership with Mattel, is kicking off a "Sleep Safe, Play Safe" campaign to educate parents and caregivers about the dangers associated with soft bedding and extra mattresses or cushions in playpens.

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