Soft bedding and playpens: A dangerous combination

Report Finds Soft Bedding a Factor in Playpen Deaths. CPSC, Mattel Launch Campaign to Alert Caregivers

To prevent deaths or injuries to children in playpens, parents and caregivers should take these precautions:

  • Before using a playpen, make sure it has not been recalled. Contact CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 or check the recalls section of CPSC's web site.
  • Always put a baby down to sleep on his back in a playpen or crib with no soft bedding, such as quilts, comforters and pillows. This can help reduce the risk of SIDS and prevent suffocation.
  • Use only the mattress provided by the manufacturer. Do not add additional mattresses in playpens. Children can suffocate in the spaces formed between mattresses or from ill-fitting mattresses.
  • Check that the playpen is in good shape. Using a modified or improperly repaired unit can create hazards.
  • Make sure the top rails of the units lock into place automatically. More than 1 million older playpens with top rails that had to be manually rotated into a locked position have been recalled.
  • Do not use playpens with catch points, such as protruding hardware. More than nine million older units with protruding hardware have been recalled.
  • If using a mesh-sided playpen, make sure the mesh is less than 1/4 inch in size and that it is attached securely. This will help prevent strangulation.

For more information on playpen safety, visit the publications section (Children's Furniture) of CPSC's Web site or call (800) 638-2772.


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, July 12, 2001
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit

CPSC's Web site.

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