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Biden signs law banning infant sleep products blamed for 200 deaths

Infant sleep products blamed in the deaths of more than 200 babies in the U.S. will soon be outlawed. 

President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law legislation that prohibits the manufacture and sale of crib bumpers or inclined sleepers blamed for more than 200 infant deaths, the White House announced.

Consumer advocates applauded the development, but noted that manufacturers and retailers have 180 days to comply, leaving additional time for the products to inflict more heartache. 

"It's unfortunate that this law could take months to take effect. Parents and caregivers need to recognize the dangers of these products and get them out of their homes now," Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said in a statement. 

There were 113 reported fatalities involving crib bumpers from the start of 1990 through March 31, 2019, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 100 babies have died in infant inclined sleep products, with the CPSC recalling numerous versions. But older models are still in circulation.

Baby Safety | Back to Basics by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on YouTube

A new federal rule approved by the CPSC last year and set to take effect in mid-2022 bans several types of sleep products for babies under 5 months old.

For decades, Parents and advocates have called for a ban on the products, which can lead to suffocation when infants' noses and mouths get covered by a bumper or stuck between it and a crib mattress. 

"After years of perseverance and many tears, the Safe Sleep for Babies Act has finally been signed into law," Sara Thompson, whose 15-week-old son, Alexander, died in a since-recalled Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play sleeper in 2011, said in a news release from Kids in Danger, or KID. "Hopefully this will lower the number of preventable infant deaths." 

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that infants sleep on their back on a firm, flat surface without any extra padding, pillows, blankets or toys. 

"Crib bumpers are killing kids," Dr. Bradley T. Thach, a professor emeritus of pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine and author of a 2007 study that first documented crib bumper deaths, told CBS News back in 2015.

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