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Mattress Fires: The Sleep Products Safety Council's Prevention and Safety Efforts

The figures are remarkable. From 1980 to 1999, bedroom fires dropped 70 percent and their related deaths by 61 percent, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. What's behind this success story? The Federal Mattress Flammability Standard, a decrease in smoking and the mattress industry's commitment to safety.

Among other things, the dramatic decline in mattress-related fires and deaths we see today can be attributed to:

  • Smoke Alarms
    According to the United States Fire Administration, the average U.S. citizen had never heard of a smoke alarm in the 1960s. By 1995, an estimated 93 percent of all American homes, including single- and multi-family, apartments, nursing homes, dormitories, etc., were equipped with alarms. By the mid 1980s, smoke alarm laws, requiring that alarms be placed in all new and existing residences, were established in 38 states and thousands of municipalities nationwide.
  • Federal Regulation
    Mattresses manufactured or imported on or after July 1, 2007, must meet two federal flammability standards requiring them to resist ignition from a smoldering cigarette and from an open-flame heat source (such as a match, lighter or candle).
  • Sleep Products Safety Council
    The International Sleep Products Association created the SPSC in 1986. This council works to educate the public about fire safety and supports research and industry changes aimed at reducing the hazards associated with mattresses and other sleep products.
  • Educational Hangtags
    Nearly 220 million mattresses have carried safety messages into the home thanks to a voluntary safety program SPSC started in 1987. The safety hangtag warns consumers of potential fire and safety hazards from improperly using sleep products and show compliance with the Federal Mattress Flammability Standard.  The safety hangtag is available in three versions:  Basic Hangtag, Tyvek® (permanent Sewn-in Hangtag), Canadian (French/English).
  • Fire Marshals Study
    Working together, the SPSC and the National Association of State Fire Marshals studied residential mattress fires. Their findings, presented to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), are being used to evaluate whether a federal standard can be developed for mattress resistance to open flames (lighters, matches, candle).

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