Drop-Side Cribs Banned; Crib Safety Standards Updated

Just one year after the largest crib recall in United States history, the baby item at issue — the drop-side crib — has now been banned. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency tasked with ensuring the safety of consumer products, announced late last week that it would institute a nationwide ban on the manufacture of drop-side cribs. The decision comes after several infants were injured, and others were killed by cribs of this design. In addition, the CPSC voted to update crib safety standards after more than 30 years without change.

Drop-side cribs have one side that can be lowered, allowing parents to pick up their children more easily than having to reach down into a fixed-side crib. The side can then be raised to keep the child secure. In November 2009, more than 2.1 million drop-side cribs produced by Stork Craft Manufacturing were recalled after reports surfaced of four infants suffocating in drop-side cribs when their heads became lodged between the drop-side and the crib mattress.

The problem with the recalled cribs was traced to the hardware which could break too easily with regular movement of the drop-side, or because of errors in assembly made by crib owners. In addition, because an entire side of the crib is mobile, the structural integrity of the crib as a whole is compromised, creating a dangerous environment for the child placed inside the crib.

After evaluating last year’s recall, and the findings of studies performed to determine why the cribs were failing, the CPSC voted unanimously to update crib safety standards. The new standards will prohibit the manufacture and sale of drop-side cribs.

Shockingly, crib safety standards in the United States have not been updated for nearly 30 years. It’s unfortunate that it’s taken the deaths of several infants to bring about an examination of safety standards, but this is often the case when defective child products are recalled, as millions of Graco strollers were in October 2010. More than 13,000 Evenflo car seats were also recently recalled because of a manufacturer defect.

The new crib safety standards will not make it illegal to own drop-side cribs, only to manufacture or sell them. The sale ban extends to second-hand cribs sold on sites such as eBay and Craigslist. Used baby items present an entirely separate safety issue as well. For the safety of your baby, if you do own a drop-side crib, find out how to make it safe to use. Better yet, replace it with a crib that has no moving parts. It may cost you a little money, but your child’s safety is invaluable.

If your child has been injured by a drop-side crib, or by any other defective child product, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Bachus & Schanker for a free consultation.