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Protecting Our Children: Crib Recalls

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CribConsidering how vulnerable infants and young children are, the spate of defective cribs in this country is major concern.

By the time we reached the halfway point in 2010, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with the cooperation of seven firms, had announced the voluntary recalls of more than two million cribs, most of them for safety issues with “drop sides.”

Now, nine months later, the CPSC has re-announced one of those recalls in the wake of a child fatality:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Delta Enterprise Corp., of New York, N.Y. are re-announcing the 2008 recall of more than 985,000 drop-side cribs with ‘Crib Trigger Lock and Safety Peg’ hardware. In January 2011, CPSC and Delta learned of a 2009 death in which 7-month-old girl from Colorado Springs, Colo. became entrapped and suffocated between the detached drop-side and mattress of her recalled crib. The crib was purchased secondhand and re-assembled without safety pegs in the bottom tracks.

This is the second child fatality attributable to this particular design flaw. The incident has also sparked a new concern — second-hand cribs. It doesn’t matter if you got it as a hand-me-down, at a garage sale, or in a thrift store; second-hand cribs can be risky, and, if you’re a typical parent, then risk is not what you’re looking for when crib shopping.

Linda Doell, a writer for WalletPop, brings us a statement from the CPSC:

‘Buying or accepting cribs second hand can be risky,’ CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a statement. ‘Second hand cribs may not come with all of the necessary parts that are needed to make sure your baby is safe. We urge parents and caregivers to use caution and to be aware that new rules established by CPSC will bring safer cribs to the market this summer.’

Additionally, I would be willing to wager that owners of second-hand cribs don’t often research the crib model to see if it is under recall. Attorney Greg Webb provides a pretty chilling breakdown of the crib recalls from 2010 on the Injury Board Blog Network. He also notes that 2011 has been far from free of these problems — not if the recalls of 500,000 Burlington Bassinets and 28,000 Ikea Sniglar cribs are anything to go by. Webb writes,

Baby cribs are used by the most vulnerable in our society — why is it that manufacturers can’t seem to get it right and that our children’s lives are risked by putting cribs on the market whose safety standards are unacceptable in the first place? Where is product testing when it comes to infants’ and children’s furniture? Why is it taking so long for companies to define, adopt and implement standards of excellence that prevent dangerous children’s furniture from reaching the marketplace at all?

Crib manufacturers may very well be taking some heat this year if there are any more incidents. Few things arouse ire like the death or injury of a child, and even one tragic incident is too many. If you have a child in a crib, please do some Googling and make sure your crib is not under recall.

It is also worth noting that CPSC is releasing new standards on June 28. Cribs over 10 years old will no longer be considered legal by those standards.

Image by miguelb, used under its Creative Commons license.

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