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Officials warn about danger of loose crib sheets

By Julie Vallese

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The federal government issued a safety alert Friday about loose or oversized cribs sheets that it blamed for 17 deaths of children since 1984.

The children, most of them infants, suffocated or were strangled in their beds.

"This is a hidden hazard that even the best caregiver may not know about," said Ann Brown, chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The agency recommended that caregivers:

  • Make sure the crib sheet fits snugly on a crib mattress and overlaps the mattress so it cannot become dislodged by pulling on the corner of the sheet.

  • Never use an adult sheet on a crib mattress.

  • Place a baby on his/her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets government safety standards.

  • Remove pillows, quilts and comforters from the crib.

    Sheets are required to bear a warning label saying, "Prevent suffocation or entanglement. Never use crib sheet unless it fits securely on crib mattress."

    Information on how a crib sheet should fit will be published in the American Academy of Pediatrics' June membership magazine. Information will then be distributed through pediatricians' offices around the country.

    • Consumer Product Safety Commission
    • American Academy of Pediatrics

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