On June 16, 2016, Joyce Davis, President of Keeping Babies Safe, testified before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to present at the Priority Hearing concerning supplemental mattresses for play yards. We look forward to working together to ensure every baby has a safe sleep environment.

You can read her testimonial below:

Good morning. My name is Joyce Davis and I am a founder of Keeping Babies Safe, a non-profit, national organization that is committed to ensuring every baby in America sleeps safely, with the safest products on the market.

Joyce Davis - CPSCIt has been 16 painful years since my four-month-old son, Garret, was killed when we added a supplemental mattress to his play yard. He rolled over and suffocated. This mattress was advertised as suitable and safe.

Many of you already know my story. That terrible day changed my life, and the lives of my family and friends. This tragedy was the reason I founded “Keeping Babies Safe,” with the hopes and prayers that other families won’t face the same tragedy.

Over the past year, I felt some of my prayers were to be answered. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission unanimously agreed to docket our petition to ban the sale of this awful product, as it has been so misused across America.

I am disheartened to learn that the CPSC may not consider this ban in its 2016 fiscal year – even after the public comment you received was 99 percent in favor of a ban.

Today, and on every other day in America, there is one painful reality: the same supplemental mattress that killed my baby is still regularly sold in stores and online.

While the CPSC still considers this petition, and may push off a decision until the 2017 fiscal year, the rest of us can’t wait for another baby to die.

We continually reach out to retailers to show how this product has proven fatal for babies. We send links to a short KBS video that demonstrates what can happen to a baby when he or she is wedged between the side of a supplemental mattress and the mesh of a soft-sided play yard and how easy it is for this to happen. We send certified letters to these retailers; we rally the local media to recognize this paramount issue. We have made some headway.

Such superb companies as Toys R Us, Sears, Kmart, buy buy Baby and Wayfair are working closely with us to ensure these products are never sold in their stores or online.

Yet it is amazing to me that other major retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Amazon continue to sell deadly supplemental mattress. They tell us that they are waiting for you to make a decision – even though so many organizations and individuals tell them the product they are selling is causing babies to suffocate.

They don’t argue or even hint to us that they believe supplemental mattresses are safe. They provided no evidence to the contrary.

We have repeatedly attempted to remind these retailers that there are mandatory hazard labels printed on all play yards – in accordance with ASTM F406-13 disclosing the risks of using supplemental mattresses. Parents are told not to use these mattresses, and are instructed to only use the original mattress pad contained in the play yard package.  Still, these major retailers and others – in direct contravention of their own warning labels – continue to sell these dangerous mattresses creating confusion in the marketplace.  In 2014, KBS was asked to present our findings at the ASTM play yard mattress meeting. We showed the warning labels, various supplemental mattresses, photos of an entrapped baby and then asked all the retailers and manufacturers in the room if they would allow any of their family members to use these products. The answer was unanimously “NO.”

Because this risk is not readily apparent when shopping for products separately or together, many young families innocently buy products that are so dangerous to little ones – they mistakenly rely on the idea that a major retailer wouldn’t sell something unsafe. That is why we have filed this petition with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  The warning labels have failed.
2017, sends the wrong message about the severity of this issue and rewards manufacturers and retailers which are violating their own standard. That is why we so desperately need you to finally act. Please. In fiscal ’16 to ban these mattresses.

As you wait, retailers and manufacturers are acting with reckless disregard to these hazard labels by intentionally ignoring these warnings and choosing to manufacture and market these supplemental mattresses. Such retailers and manufacturers are profiting on families who trust the brands; it has been very distressing to watch.

In December, we were not surprised to learn that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has joined in our effort to urge this commission to ban the sale of supplemental baby mattresses. According to AAP, supplemental mattresses for play yards do not have a place in a safe sleep environment. These products pose a suffocation hazard to infants.

We hope this support from the AAP and many health care experts nationwide will help encourage you to vote on this ban. In April, the CPSC released its latest fatality reports of babies suffocating in soft-sided play yards; it proves, yet again, that we continue to lose infants while our petition is debated and discussed. The causes of infant death that occur during sleep have increased in incidence, including suffocation, asphyxia and entrapment.

The updated data from 2014-16 shows the number of infants who lost their lives. I can read you the numbers. But I think we all agree that any number is unacceptable when it comes to easily preventing these deaths.  We seek a ban on a product – supplemental mattresses – that fulfils no greater good; but instead, is a product that industry has already determined to be unsafe as set forth in warning labels that they have adopted themselves years ago.

We simply seek to remedy a loophole in commerce that allows manufacturers and retailers to put into commerce a product that they themselves know to be unsafe.  Warning labels are important, but in this case the warnings are being circumvented by certain manufacturers and retailers for pure profit.  For all of these reasons, a total ban on the sale of supplemental mattresses is necessary.

No other mother should have to suffer the way I have, as there is a clear and obvious way to prevent further tragedy. I urge and implore you to approve our petition that calls for the banning of the sale of supplemental mattresses in retail establishments and online in the United States.

Please, please, please. Make this ban a priority in fiscal 2016. There is absolutely no reason to wait.

Thank you.