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Ruiz Bill Prohibiting Sale of Unsafe Crib & Playpen ‘Supplemental Mattresses’ Approved by Committee

Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) testifies in support of legislation that provides in-state tuition to undocumented young adults.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz that would prohibit the sale of unsafe supplemental mattresses marketed for use in cribs and playpens – and that have proven deadly to children – was approved today by the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Supplemental mattresses pose a real danger to children and have resulted in tragedies. Even though federal guidelines require cribs and other children’s products to have mattresses that meet certain standards, these unsafe products continue to be marketed and sold,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “New parents are often inundated with information about the best products for their children, including conflicting information, and having hazardous products on the market only makes it that much more difficult for them to keep their child safe – which is the most important job of any parent. Taking these products off the shelves is critical to the safety of our residents and to our children.”

The Star-Ledger last year reported on the danger of these supplemental mattresses and an effort by a New Jersey mother to have them banned. Joyce Davis’ son Garret was four-and-a-half months old when he suffocated while sleeping in a playpen with a supplemental mattress. Davis subsequently founded a nonprofit, Keeping Babies Safe, which provides education and advocacy in the development of safer children’s products and practices.

The bill (S2616) would specifically deem supplemental mattresses marketed for and intended to be used with cribs, play pens, and play yards with non-rigid sides to be unsafe, unless the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determines them to be safe for the care of, or use by, a child.  The bill, therefore, would make it unlawful for any commercial user to knowingly remanufacture, retrofit, sell, contract to sell or resell, lease, sublet, or otherwise place in the stream of commerce a children’s product deemed unsafe in accordance with this section.

According to the CPSC webpage, consumers of play yards are advised not to use supplemental mattresses because supplemental mattresses may create a gap and lead to an entrapment hazard for the child.

The committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It next goes to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.