WARREN, NJ - For more than a decade, my organization, Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), has sounded the steady drumbeat of safe sleep awareness, which in turn has created bans on dangerous products and has helped enact laws that work to ensure babies are sleeping safely.
In 2017, KBS kicked off its latest awareness campaign designed to promote safe sleep practices and products for babies. The campaign will culminate in the second-annual National KBS Day on Tuesday, May 2, in which KBS staff, volunteers, sponsors and donors will honor lawmakers and others who have helped lead the cause over the past year.
On this KBS Day, we will celebrate legislation in Trenton that is being spearheaded by Sen. Teresa Ruiz and Assemblyman Jamel Holley, calling for a ban on the sale of supplemental baby mattresses in the state. The bill has received unanimous Assembly approval, unanimous approval of the Senate Commerce Committee and is now before the Senate Budget Committee.
It is our hope the bill will be on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk this spring for signature. The momentum for this legislation is another example of how KBS Day, and other initiatives throughout the year, are making a major impact in the halls of government.
KBS Day is held intentionally on the same day as National Baby Day. KBS is underscoring the fact that newborns can spend up to 18 hours a day in a crib. Parents and other caregivers need to know the latest safe sleep practices to protect them.
Baby sleep safety isn’t just a responsibility of new parents. Family members and friends can also learn about ways in which to promote safe sleep practices.
There are many ways in which you can mark KBS Day. We hope you use the moment to spread these life-saving tips:
1. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in his/her own crib.
2. All cribs must meet new 2012 crib safety standards. Drop-side cribs are banned.
3. Check the crib regularly for loose or missing parts. Use only manufacturers’ recommended parts.
4. Remove all soft items from crib including traditional crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, comforters and toys.
5. Never add a supplemental mattress to a mesh-sided play yard. Use only the mattress/pad that comes with your crib/bassinet/play yard. Bare is best!
6. Always place your any to sleep on his/her back.
Arming new parents with the best safe sleep advice will actually help make other legislation – both state and federal – more effective. Today, second-hand stores and consignment shops continue to grow, particularly in low-income areas of the state, with many inadequate cribs and supplemental mattresses available for easy purchase.
Recent federal legislation makes it illegal to sell unsafe cribs that don’t meet federal standards. This legislation speaks to the sellers of this merchandise. But our focus is the users of the crib – the new parents.
By informing the new parents of what is safe and what is not, we are providing parents with critical information so that they can make knowledgeable decisions about where and how to put their baby to sleep.
To learn more about the work of KBS, to participate in the May 2 celebration or how you can celebrate “Keeping Babies Safe Day” in your community, please visit www.keepingbabiessafe.org.