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Business Observer Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 8 months ago

Baby talk: Inventor tackles another infant safety issue

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Crescent Womb creator James Spencer has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Newt, a replacement for crib bumpers.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

James Spencer, the St. Petersburg entrepreneur who invented and brought to market Crescent Womb, a device that makes cribs safer for infants while they sleep, has returned to the spotlight with Newt — a “skin” made of stretchy fabric he’s pitching as a solution to the problem of babies sustaining injuries when their arms and legs slip through crib rails.

Courtesy. St. Petersburg entrepreneur James Spencer is the creator of crib safety products Crescent Womb and now Newt.

Spencer tells Coffee Talk the product is a big improvement on crib bumpers — thick pieces of padding that line the sides of a crib — which have been linked to dozens of infant deaths, according to research published in The Journal of Pediatrics. Babies can get their heads wedged between the crib mattress and the bumpers, leading to suffocation.

“There’s a pending federal ban [on crib bumpers] called the Safe Cribs Act,” Spencer says, referring to legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) being considered by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. “It’s in Congress and has bipartisan support.”

Newt, whose name is inspired by the amphibian creatures that breathe through their skin, entirely replaces bumpers. The product costs $59, fits all standard crib shapes and sizes thanks to its elastic nylon mesh structure and is designed to compete against Breathable Baby.

The key differentiator between the two products, Spencer says, is Newt’s ease of installation.

“Newt’s patented design allows it to lay in the crib liner, the walls of the crib and then be secured by the mattress and some attachment points that buckle and secure underneath the crib, out of the sleep environment.”

He adds, “Removing attachments inside the crib makes installation simple for families and mitigates and removes all the risks of having potentially loose material in the crib environment.”

Spencer has launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to fund Newt’s initial production run, and he expects to be able to ship the product to buyers starting in March. “We have manufacturing partners lined up right here in St. Petersburg,” he says. “We’re ready to go into product and fill orders as soon as the campaign concludes.”

Spencer says he’s had previous success with Kickstarter and viewed it as the fastest, most efficient way to get Newt into homes.

“This is solving a major problem in the market,” he says. “The crib-rail issue affects all families. Even if there’s not an injury in the nursery, parents get woken up almost nightly from infants getting tangled in crib rails. So, it brings peace of mind, comfort and a more consistent night’s sleep to families everywhere.”

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