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Industry to study crib death causes.

WASHINGTON (FNS)--The infant bedding industry has hired its own researcher to respond to a government report that links soft bedding products to crib deaths.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has estimated that as many as 1,800 infant crib deaths each year may be attributable to soft bedding products such as comforters, pillows and sheepskin. A 1992-1993 study found that babies who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, were found lying on their stomachs with their noses and mouths covered by soft bedding.

The CPSC suggested that a build-up of carbon dioxide in the bedding may be responsible for infant deaths.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has commissioned Dr. John Brooks, chairman of the pediatrics department at Dartmouth Medical School, to issue a report on the relationship between bedding and SIDS. Brooks said an executive summary is due out this month, and a report to the JPMA will be made in the next several months.

Brooks said studies have shown a correlation between soft bedding and SIDS, and between carbon dioxide build-up and SIDS, but nothing has been proven.

The JPMA issued a statement that said: "The CPSC report is not a case-controlled study and has not been submitted to a peer-review scientific journal for scrutiny. By overstating the meaning and reliability of their data, they are bound to cause unnecessary confusion and alarm among the public. "

Leo Hollander, chief executive of Hollander Home Fashions, also questioned the CPSC study. A Hollander product, called "Mother's Helper," was implicated by the CPSC and others in SIDS deaths several years ago. "I look at anything the CPSC comes out with a dubious eye and I challenge their credibility, " he said.

Deborah L. Alpert, spokeswoman for the JPMA in Morristown, N.J., said the association has warned parents not to let babies sleep on anything but a firm crib mattress covered by a sheet and mattress pad, and to put babies to sleep on their backs.

She said the organization is considering suggested wording for members to use on labels and other product information.

The CPSC has no plans to require any warning or product-use information from manufacturers, said spokeswoman Karen Kraushaar. "The JPMA has issued guidelines of its own," she said.

Patti Sumergrade, president of children's bedding manufacturer Sumersault Ltd., said the industry is willing to take any necessary steps to help parents minimize the risk of SIDS. "We will strictly adhere to any of the guidelines set out by JPMA, and I hope in short order some recommendations will be out," she emphasized.
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Title Annotation:infant bedding industry, Consumer Product Safety Commission report
Author:Emert, Carol
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 13, 1995
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