Family Voices — Kennedy’s Story
Kennedy was killed when she got her neck caught in a gap between the metal support and mattress of her bassinet. She was six months old.
Submitted by her mother
In August 2008, six month old Kennedy slept in her Winnie the Pooh bassinet; her family was in the living room, only seconds away. But not even a cry could be heard as Kennedy’s neck got caught between a metal support and the mattress.
The bassinet was designed with a fabric cover over a metal frame. The cover could be removed from part of the frame to allow it to convert to a bedside sleeper – a lowered section allowed easier access to the baby. But the fabric could remain loose or create a pocket between the widely spaced metal bars, entrapping an infant.
What’s happened since Kennedy’s death?
After Kennedy’s death, her family went online to check if the bassinet, made by Simplicity for Children, Inc. had been recalled. They found, to their surprise, that 4-month-old Katelyn Simon had died in the same bassinet the previous September, but that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had never issued a recall.
Soon after Kennedy’s death, CPSC finally acted. Unfortunately, all they could do was issue a safety alert, not a recall. SFCA Inc., the company that acquired Simplicity’s assets following their bankruptcy, denied responsibility for the product and would not agree to a voluntary recall. Retailers stepped up to refund customers for the dangerous product.
In 2011, there were an average of 20 deaths associated with bassinets and cradles. Much progress has been made since then. That same August in 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was passed. The CPSIA established a new mandatory safety standard for bassinets which went into effect on April 14, 2014. You can read more about that standard here. There have only been two bassinets recalled since the standard was in place.
How You Can Take Action
To take action and help prevent further incidents, injuries, and deaths,
there are a number of things you can do:
- Any time you buy a play yard or portable crib, check that the manufacture date is after February 28th, 2013 to make sure that it meets the strong standards set by CPSC.
- Register all infant and toddler durable products so you can be alerted to recalls.
- Check all sleep environments like cribs and other children’s products for recalls by visiting CPSC.gov and typing searching the recall database.
- Register for KID’s monthly email alert to stay up-to-date on all children’s product recalls and receive safety tips and information.
More Information on Cribs
Although mandatory standards exist for cribs, only recently has an effort been made to strengthen those standards and require testing and verification of new cribs. Because of these standards, all cribs must include proper assembly instructions and diagrams as well as cautionary and warning labels as required by federal law.
More information on Safe Sleep
A safe sleep environment is the one place parents and caregivers can place an infant and know they will be safe, even as the parent sleeps or attends to other things. Infants sleep safest following the ABC’s of safe sleep—Alone, on their Back and in a Crib, bassinet or play yard that meets federal standards and hasn’t been recalled. AAP also recommends babies sleep on a flat surface and unrestrained. Nothing should be in the crib except a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
View our safe sleep video to learn more about how to keep your baby safe while sleeping.