by Heidi Hauser Green
December 15, 2011
As of December 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the manufacture and sale of what it calls “dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs.” In spite of the ban, drop-side cribs remained on the market until June 2011, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. The ban didn’t take effect for six months for manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and for an additional 18 months for child care centers, family child care homes, hotels, and similar facilities.
It’s rare for such a strong, unequivocal mandate to be issued about a class of products. The CPSC has recognized the danger of various drop-side cribs for years, issuing recalls on more than 11 million such cribs between 2007 and 2010 alone. During this period, at least 36 children have died due to structural problems with their cribs.
The recent ban comes as part of the first new crib standard to be issued in nearly 30 years. In addition to banning drop-side cribs, this measure aims to “make mattress supports stronger… make crib hardware more durable… and make safety testing more rigorous.” All of these measures should make cribs safer, in the future, than they are today.
The bottom line: Don’t buy a drop-side crib and don’t allow your child to sleep in one. If you can’t replace an existing drop-side crib right away, check your crib regularly and, as recommended by the non-profit Charlie’s House, use L-brackets to make sure the crib walls cannot move. Some manufacturers, whose cribs were recalled, may be offering free repair kits. Another option is to use a portable play yard.
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