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Consumer Reports: Court Upholds Federal Infant Sleeper Rule and Dismisses Industry Case

Court rules that strong, evidence-based safety standards for infant sleep products were lawfully established

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports today commended judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for their decision to uphold the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) infant sleep rule that went into effect on June 23, 2022. This ruling secures the CPSC’s legal authority to protect infants and toddlers and maintains strong standards that require all infant sleep products in the U.S. to align with expert evidence-based safety guidelines. 

“Today, the court ruled on the side of parents, caregivers, and the safety of our children,” said Oriene Shin, policy counsel for product safety at Consumer Reports. “Parents can be assured, going forward, that products designed or marketed for infant sleep will be required to meet strong minimum safety standards.”

In 2021, Finnbin, a “baby box” company, challenged the CPSC’s infant sleep rule, claiming that the CPSC broke the law by issuing an overly broad rule and failing to provide sufficient evidence on the need for the regulation. A successful legal challenge could have invalidated the infant sleep rule and allowed companies to restart the production of hazardous infant sleep products. At least 94 infant deaths are associated with inclined sleepers, and at least 23 deaths are tied to unregulated flat sleep products, including in-bed sleepers, according to a CR investigation

In an amicus brief, jointly filed with the Consumer Federation of America and Kids In Danger, Consumer Reports stated its full support of the CPSC’s position. CR underscored that the agency had lawfully created the new rule and that doing so was an important step to fulfill the agency’s statutory purpose—including developing uniform safety standards and protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products.

“If Finnbin’s challenge had prevailed, parents would have been left unprotected, and key CPSC powers would have been gutted,” said Shin. “CR commends the court for rejecting Finnbin’s meritless arguments, affirming that the CPSC acted lawfully, and letting the mandatory rule continue in effect.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should sleep alone, on their back, on a firm, flat surface in their own safe sleeping area – be it a crib, bassinet, or play yard – with no extra bedding or other objects, to help avoid suffocation and other dangers. Parents and caregivers should follow these evidence-based recommendations, and discontinue the use of any product for infant sleep that does not align with them — including inclined sleepers, in-bed sleepers, and various other products covered by the CPSC’s new final rule.


Contact: Emily Akpan, emily.akpan@consumer.org