Assemblyman Jamel Holley Pushes Crib Safety Legislation
in New Jersey
Holley Partners with “Keeping Babies Safe” to Promote New Law
TRENTON – May 19, 2015 – Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Union) today announced he has signed on as a primary sponsor to a bill (A-1355) requiring hospitals and birthing facilities across the state to provide new parents with vital information about crib safety.
“Current state law requires that when a new baby is born, parents must have a car safety seat before they can be discharged from the hospital,” Holley said. “This is great legislation, which ensures the babies’ first travel out of the hospital will be safe. But once a baby is home, the baby is likely to spend most of his or her hours of the day sleeping in a crib – especially for the first year; not driving in a car.”
That is why the state Legislature must move forward on A-1355, Holley said, ensuring parents are given literature regarding crib safety, as well as the latest information about product recalls, federal standards on manufacture and sale of cribs and updates from the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission. The assemblyman said the literature should include helpful suggestions to ensure babies are kept safe in cribs, bassinets and play yards.
Holley said he learned about this proposed legislation from Keeping Babies Safe, a non-profit crib safety advocacy organization in Warren that provides parents and caregivers with vital crib safety information and has also been raising money and using the proceeds to provide safe cribs to families nationwide.
“Through this bill, we can be assured that all New Jersey families are knowledgeable about the latest safe sleep practices for our babies,” Holley said.
Holley is joining a bill that is also sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Burlington). It is expected a companion bill will be introduced on the state Senate under a Republican sponsor, ensuring a bi-partisan effort.
“At Keeping Babies Safe, we feel that knowledge is the most important factor in keeping our babies safe,” said Joyce Davis, founder of the organization. “The crib is the only place we leave our babies unattended. Far too often, babies come home from the hospital and are put in cribs that are unsafe. These cribs may be broken, they may be old and unstable, they may have been recalled, they may even be second-hand cribs that are now being used in an unsafe manner.”
Davis noted that many new parents often have no idea about whether the crib handed to them is safe. Just because they are told that “it worked and was safe” for the prior baby that slept in it, experience tells us that doesn’t make it safe for another baby, Davis said.
Keeping Babies Safe, along with the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released a video, entitled “Safe Sleep for Babies,” that reviews all of the critical safe sleep facts. It is available through the organization’s website, KeepingBabiesSafe.org.
“Arming new parents with the best safe sleep advice will actually help make other legislation — both state and federal — more effective,” Holley said. “Second-hand stores and consignment shops continue to grow in New Jersey, particularly in today’s unstable economy. Recent federal legislation makes it illegal to sell unsafe cribs that don’t meet federal standards. The legislation speaks to the sellers of this merchandise. What is required to make legislation work is legislation that speaks to the users of the crib – the new parents.”
“By informing the new parents of what is safe and what is not, we can provide parents with critical information so that they can make knowledgeable decisions about where and how to put their baby to sleep,” the assemblyman added. “As importantly, parents will know where to get this critical information. By adopting legislation requiring hospitals and healthcare workers to provide crib and sleep safety information to new parents, legislation already enacted will be even more effective.”
Holley said he looks forward to working with Assemblywoman Stender and Assemblywoman Lampitt on pushing the bill this spring, as well as working with his colleagues in the State Senate on a companion bill. The assemblyman also lauded the work of Keeping Babies Safe, calling the advocacy organization “an important friend to New Jersey families.”