Experts Speak Out on the CPSC/JPMA Joint Announcement
Dr. Abraham Bergman, Chief of Pediatrics, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle
"It is totally inappropriate for a government agency like CPSC, with no expertise in children's health, to join forces with an organization whose purpose is to maximize the sale of cribs, in promoting particular child-rearing practices. While it is important for the CPSC to collect and disseminate information on hazardous projects, the agency continues to ignore the limitations of its data on deaths of children in adult beds. There is no autopsy verification whatsoever, for example, on the children who were found dead without obvious signs of entrapment or compression. It is garbage science to attribute all these deaths to infants being put down in adult beds. It is appalling this information is to be used as background for a well-funded publicity campaign to sell infant cribs. Pronouncements about child health and child rearing practices should be made by organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, who possess the expertise to interpret medical data."
Dr. Bergman is also professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington and has been active in the area of product safety. He most notably worked with the late Senator Warren Magnuson in the late 1960's on legislation to create the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). He also served as president of the National SIDS Foundation from 1972-1977.
Dr. Mary Ann O'Hara, Physician and Cultural Anthropologist, University of Washington
"Health authorities should attempt to modify parental decisions about infant sleep only when guided by good evidence. To assert that parents jeopardize their infant by opting against a crib is not justified by available data and has some potential harms. It may subject parents to unfounded guilt and blame, jeopardize professional credibility, constrain cultural practices, impose economic hardship, undermine breast-feeding, or otherwise inadvertently compromise infant health. Primum non nocere." (Western Journal of Medicine, 2001;174:301)
Dr. William Sears, Pediatrician & Author of The Baby Book
"Until a legitimate survey is done to determine how many babies sleep with their parents, and this is factored into the rate of SIDS in a bed versus a crib, it is unwarranted to state that sleeping in a crib is safer than a bed."
Meredith Small, Ph.D., Anthropologist & Author of Our Babies, Ourselves
"For millions of years, the normal sleeping position of human infants has been on their backs nestled next to mother. Only in western culture do we force babies to sleep alone, thinking they are more safe and independent placed in a crib with no contact. But history, and how most babies sleep in other cultures, suggests that the West is out of step with what is best physically and emotionally for our children."
Katie Granju, Author of Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for your Baby & Young Child
"In its recounting of the allegedly startling number of infant deaths which took place in adult beds, the CPSC's own statistics revealed that approximately 80% of the total number actually occurred as a result of factors unrelated to the fact that the baby was sleeping with another person. In these cases, babies were placed on bedding that was too soft, leading to suffocation, or they became trapped face-down on waterbeds, or wedged between a headboard and a mattress. Clearly, unsafe, poorly designed sleeping arrangements in which this type of fatal accident is liable to occur are inappropriate for infants, whether an adult is sharing the bed with them or not."
Jean Liedloff, Author of The Continuum Concept
"The CPSC is tragically ignorant of the needs and nature of human babies and their parents. The great importance of physical contact with infants lies in the fact that our species, homo sapiens, has evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years adapted to the experiences of the preceding generations. And it is clear that our evolving antecedents held and slept with their babies, not only to nourish them, keep them warm and protect them from predators, but to give them the treatment, the experience, that is to serve them correctly throughout their lives: the sense of being worthy and welcome. Those words, worthy and welcome, describe how every child and adult should feel about self, on the powerful parental authority that for those countless millennia prepared us for the high level of well-being for which evolution designed us."
Jan Hunt, Director of The Natural Child Project
"The data collected is certainly in question as it is possible for the real cause of death to be misunderstood, especially in those many cases where a nonmedical person filled out the death report. In normal circumstances, if a parent begins to roll onto a baby, the baby has built-in defense mechanisms (including a loud shriek). If a baby dies in a family bed, a parent could roll over on him afterward, because there would be no warning shriek to prevent that. That would lead to the appearance of a roll-over death but such a report would be inaccurate."