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Starwood Hotels' Three Largest Brands Introduce Safer Cribs

Starwood Hotels' Three Largest Brands Introduce Safer Cribs

Published 08-14-01

Submitted by Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NSYE:HOT) announced today that its three largest hotel brands are replacing existing baby cribs with brand new custom-designed cribs, developed to be ultra-safe, stylish and comfortable.

More than 2,000 new cribs are headed to 300-plus Westin, Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton hotels throughout North America, representing an investment of more than $1 million.

Hotel Industry Taken to Task for Unsafe Cribs

Starwood's crib initiative comes just over a year after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National SAFE KIDS(R) Campaign found unsafe cribs and play yards in the majority of hotels they visited around the country. From motels to luxury resorts, SAFE KIDS found that four out of five of the hotels they checked had cribs with at least one safety hazard including: loose hardware; soft bedding, comforters or pillows that could cause suffocation; or adult-sized sheets that pose a strangulation and suffocation hazard.

"As a father of young children, I thought hotel cribs looked pretty shabby - weathered, cheap and not very clean," said Barry S. Sternlicht, Starwood's Chairman and CEO. "Most of the time my wife and I would carry our own crib with us on vacation, or end up putting the kids in bed with us to avoid hotel cribs. Not only were the cribs ugly, we often questioned their safety. And the SAFE KIDS survey confirmed that hotel cribs can in fact be dangerous."

According to Sternlicht, Starwood had long planned to develop better-looking cribs for its hotel brands, but when the SAFE KIDS report was released, he re-directed the operations research and development team to push up the project and focus on safety, in addition to design.

Starwood's New Cribs to Set Safety Standard in Hotel Industry

During its research and development, Starwood gathered every commercial hotel crib on the market, and evaluated each for safety, aesthetics, maintenance and ease of set up. In the end, Starwood chose to specially design a crib with extra precautions that actually exceed the safety regulations of both the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Features of Starwood's new crib include:

-- A four-inch thick, natural baby firm mattress that is nearly double the thickness of typical foam mattresses found in most hotels, and more like mattresses found in most upscale home nurseries. Mattresses are also waterproof, flame retardant and feature vent holes for air circulation.
-- A durable insulator pad, padded with cocoa leaf and cotton batting that tops the crib mattress to provide an extra luxurious sleeping surface.
-- A reinforced safety latch and special hardware fittings on the crib's bottom to prevent the mattress from falling through.
-- Custom-designed linens, including a bumper pad for extra comfort and safety - all tightly fitted to prevent suffocation from excess material.
-- Safe teething rails with non-toxic plastic top.

"We commend Starwood for their leadership role in ensuring that these new cribs meet, and even exceed, safety standards," said Heather Paul, Ph.D., Executive Director, National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "Starwood's commitment to crib safety and their investment in new cribs is great news for traveling families."

New Heavenly Crib(TM) and Sweet Sleeper Crib(TM) Designed to be More Like Home

In addition to striving to have the safest crib in the hotel industry, Starwood set out to develop the most stylish crib as well, designing two versions of its crib to complement the unique design features of its brands. In keeping with Starwood's design philosophy, the new cribs have a high-end residential look as opposed to the more utilitarian, sterile design of typical hotel cribs.

-- The Westin Heavenly Crib features a white wood finish, fitted blue bottom sheet with a cloud design, white bumper pad and white flounced dust ruffle with delicate bows. Inspired by Westin's all-white Heavenly Bed(TM), the Heavenly Crib is the brand's newest "heavenly" innovation and will be offered in its North American properties.

-- The Sweet Sleeper Crib will be featured in North American Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton properties. With its handsome natural wood finish, fitted blue sheets with a whimsical car design in bright primary colors, navy bumper pad and white cotton blanket, the Sweet Sleeper Crib complements Sheraton's sleigh bed and rich, jewel-tone color scheme found
in recently renovated rooms around the country.

"If you look at photos of typical hotel cribs, it's a pretty depressing sight. The cribs are metal with flimsy mattresses and old sheets - certainly not very inviting or comfortable looking," said Sternlicht. "Hotels should be a treat for even our youngest guests, and certainly we want parents to feel secure knowing their infant is sleeping in a clean, comfortable, safe and luxurious crib."

Crib Training and Do's and Don'ts are Key to New Crib Rollout

When the CPSC and National SAFE KIDS Campaign conducted their inspection of hotel cribs, many violations were the result of human error - adult sheets on cribs, pillows placed in cribs, or cribs assembled improperly. As part of its crib launch, Starwood is rolling out a training program designed to educate associates about crib safety. The company has also provided hotels with a "Safety Spot Check List" to be completed upon each assembly and takedown of the crib. The inspection includes the following checks:

-- Is crib situated in a safe part of the room? It should not be near lamps, dangling cords or ribbons, windows, fans, heaters or climbable furniture.
-- Is bumper pad punctured or torn? A torn plastic cover may end up suffocating a baby.
-- Rattle mattress support; thump the mattress from the top and repeat the thumping on the bottom. Is mattress support mechanism secure?
-- Are there any split, cracked, broken, loose or missing slats? Both the Heavenly Cribs and Sweet Sleeper Cribs began rolling out last month, and are currently in 100 hotels. All Westin, Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton hotels in North America are required to have the cribs by next year. In the meantime, Starwood hotels that do not yet feature the new cribs are required to have cribs that meet the safety requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 725 properties in 80 countries and 120,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchiser of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit us at www.starwoodhotels.com

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

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