Extensive testing must go into a product to make sure it is safe for consumer use, especially when that product will be used by juveniles and infants. For example, The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has been consistently warning consumers for years that adding any additional padding or bedding to play yards can increase the risk of suffocation hazards and other injuries.
The mattresses that come with these play yards have undergone rigid review to ensure that they do not put an infant in danger and provide the safest experience possible. A majority of supplemental companies offering replacement or add-on bedding have not tested their products to the exact specifications of the consumer’s play yard, so how can they ensure they fit correctly? This quickly puts consumer safety in the backseat to profit. Without enforcement of the same level of standards on these outside companies, there is no guarantee that a parent has bought a mattress or bedding that is geared towards protecting their child.
If the products are on the market, shouldn’t they be safe?
The JPMA Managing Director of Public and Government Affairs urges parents to always follow the provided instructions for their play yards and warns them to never use any bedding other than what has been provided by the manufacturer. Why? When the mattress is too small or too thick, it can increase the danger of suffocation.
The supplement mattresses and bedding products may not appear to be inherently dangerous, but when combined with the play yard made with different specifications in mind, it is clear that many simply don't meet the standards of safety. Products sold on popular websites, such as Amazon, have reportedly been used with previously bought play yards and left gaps that are numerous inches wide. Though it may seem minimal, even a just a few inches could be enough to endanger a child.
Additionally, JPMA oversees a certification program that provides a seal for products that meet the appropriate safety standards for juveniles. However, these online retailers are not regulated by these standards and therefore can skirt around any dangers in their products. Simply put, the products are poured into the market place at a fast pace with the safety standards left up to the consumer to determine. When the test subject is a parent’s own child, the matter quickly becomes much more serious.
Keeping a Level-Head in a Confusing Marketplace
While the presence of supplement bedding and mattresses on popular websites and retailers may seem to indicate that they are approved for consumer use, parents should still remain cautious. How can parents make sure that they are putting their child’s safety first in the midst of such a confusing marketplace? The best approach is to read and adhere to the warning labels on play yards and other infant products.
Until these manufactures state otherwise or a new certification comes out for supplement products, parents should always follow the provided guidelines to ensure their child remains protected.