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Regulators tighten scrutiny 
of baby sleep products

Three years ago, Dr. Bradley Thach, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis, published findings that had the potential to upend nurseries across the nation, and perhaps save some lives too.

In reviewing data from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Thach concluded that crib bumpers — the padding wrapped around the inside of a crib that often matches the bedding — were killing babies. In a 10-year period beginning in 1995, he found 27 suffocation deaths involving bumper pads, and he theorized that many more might have occurred because of inconsistencies in the data.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission initially ignored the findings. Last summer, it reached the same conclusion as a trade group representing product manufacturers, which asserted that other factors, like a crib crowded with pillows or babies sleeping on their stomachs, might have been a factor in those deaths, rather than the bumpers. As a result, most parents remained unaware of the debate over the safety of crib bumpers.

New confusion surrounds plans for Ground Zero Islamic center

NEW YORK — Two weeks after the developer of a controversial Islamic center and mosque planned near ground zero distanced himself from the imam who co-founded the project, the imam has raised confusion over who is in charge by suggesting that he would move the center to a less contentious space if an opportunity arose.

The imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, told the editorial board of The Buffalo News last week during a speaking tour in upstate New York that if someone offered another site, “I would move; I would move because my whole life is about improving relationships with people.”

Sharif el-Gamal, the real estate investor who owns the property and co-founded the project, known as Park51, with Abdul Rauf in 2009, has insisted that he will build the community center and mosque as originally planned: at 51 Park Place in Lower Manhattan.

Super Bowl advertisers try 
to score points, too

Most marketers that typically advertise in the Super Bowl sell brands with broad appeal and long histories, the better to resonate with the mass audiences that watch the game each year.

For instance, for Super Bowl XLV, to be broadcast by Fox on Sunday, the sponsor roster includes Chevrolet, which turns 100 this year; Coca-Cola, 125; Mercedes-Benz, also 125; and Stella Artois, a beer introduced in 1926 that traces its roots to 1366.

So what is Groupon, the purveyor of digital coupons that started in November 2008, doing in the game?

Groupon executives hope their commercial in the Super Bowl, along with spots before and after, will help build awareness for the brand. Groupon has hired Crispin Porter & Bogusky — the MDC Partners agency known for offbeat ads for marketers like Burger King and Domino’s — to create the commercials.

“We decided it was time to expose this brand in a big way, on the biggest stage,” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer at Groupon in Chicago, referring to the Super Bowl’s usually being the most-watched television show each year.

Expectations are high for Super Bowl commercials because the large audiences anticipate fresh, imaginative spots they have not seen before.

—Stuart Elliott, The New York Times