New Jersey lawmakers are considering a ban on sales of supplemental mattresses that some use for extra padding in cribs, play pens, and play yards.
Warren Township resident Joyce Davis said her 4-month-old son suffocated 16 years ago while sleeping on a supplemental mattress that was advertised as suitable and safe.
“Today and every other day in America there is one painful reality,” she said during an Assembly hearing on the measure. “The same supplemental mattress that killed my baby is still sold in stores and online.”
A gap between those mattresses and the soft sides of a play yard increases the risk of suffocation, she said.
“Because this risk is not readily apparent when shopping for products separately or together, many young families innocently buy products that are so dangerous to little ones,” Davis said. “They mistakenly rely on the idea that a major retailer wouldn’t sell something unsafe.”
Robert O’Manskey with Dream On Me, a company that manufactures supplemental mattresses in Piscataway, opposes the ban.
“If you take supplemental mattresses off the market, you will increase the use of makeshift objects like sofa cushions that are unsafe,” he said.
The industry wants to update standards for crib mattresses, according to Andrew Hackman with the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association.
“We want them to match the dimensions that are necessary so that you don’t end up with that gap between the supplemental mattresses and the play yards,” he said. “We want the products to be regulated more stringently.”
There’s also a push for a national ban on supplemental mattress sales.