News

Federal government bans drop-side cribs

by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
 
Drop-side cribs have been used in American homes for decades.

Passed down from generations, some infants have slept in the crib originally used by one of their parents and, before that, grandparents. Not anymore.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the manufacture, sale and re-sale of drop-side cribs, saying that the popular nursery furniture with a movable side is dangerous and potentially deadly to children.

Port Angeles mother Ollie Babcock said she made the decision not to use a drop-side crib while she was pregnant with her daughter Belle, who is 5 months old now.

“I don’t use a drop-side crib because I worry about when she’s older,” Babcock said. “She could lean over the side and it might fall or she could smash her hand — or worse.”

Watch for recalls

Susan Baritelle, a Sequim mother of two and owner of Dungeness Kids Company, said she’s always been leery of drop-side cribs and never has owned one, sold them or recommended them. She advises parents and caregivers to look online for recalls no matter what style or brand of crib they choose and to avoid using outdated equipment that might not be up to current safety standards.

Since 2005, more than 7 million drop-side cribs have been recalled by manufacturers because of suffocation and strangulation hazards. At the end of 2010, it became illegal to sell a drop-side crib, commercially or privately. Public places such as day care centers and hotels also are prohibited from using the dangerous style of cribs.

Drop-side cribs, which have one side that lowers to make it easier for parents and caregivers to lift babies in and out, have been blamed in the death of at least 32 children in the U.S. throughout the past 10 years and are suspected in 14 other cases.

Many of the deaths associated with drop-side cribs happened when the movable side partly detached and trapped the child between the mattress and wooden crib slats. In some cases, it was said that the caregiver unknowingly installed the drop-side incorrectly. In others, the hardware failed and the side detached.

Along with banning drop-side cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission instilled new mandatory crib standards that will make mattress supports stronger, make crib hardware more durable and make safety testing more rigorous.

The commission has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. The new standards aim to prevent injuries and death, keeping children safe in their cribs.

Effective June 2011, all cribs manufactured, sold or leased in the U.S. must comply with the new federal standards.

For more information about crib recalls and infant sleep safety, go here: www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs/index.html.
 

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