Crib safety standards get stricter

Consumer Reports News: June 16, 2011 04:38 PM


It’s the end of the drop-side crib era. As of June 28, the Consumer Product Safety Commission will put new crib safety regulations into effect that not only prohibit the manufacture or sale—including resale—of traditional drop side cribs, but impose stricter guidelines for crib manufacture.

These new mandatory standards regarding drop side cribs have been approved since December 2010, an action that had been advocated by Consumers Union among other safety groups.

The new standards require that cribs have fixed sides. Slats will have to be made stronger to prevent breakage, crib hardware and mattress supports will have to be more durable, and safety testing will have more stringent requirements to prove compliance. Crib manufacturers will have to meet these new standards or face possible mandatory recalls and civil penalties.

The regulations also apply to cribs used by hotels (and other places of public accommodation) and childcare centers, although those organizations will have until December 28, 2012 to buy new cribs.

Preventing crib-related injuries and deaths through promoting educational efforts about how to create and maintain a safer sleeping environment for babies is a joint program of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and a non-profit advocacy organization, Keeping Babies Safe. Besides information available on these organizations’ web sites, there is a video produced by Keeping Babies Safe and the CPSC, “Safe Sleep for Babies” (available in English and Spanish), which can be viewed on the organization’s web site, various retailer sites, and on hospital internal television networks as well as their newborn channel, targeting new and expectant parents.

Keeping Babies Safe president and co-founder, Joyce Davis, has been working since 2006 to establish more stringent consumer safety laws, after her four-month-old son Garret suffocated in his play yard in 2000 when he became wedged in the gap between the vinyl side and the added mattress.

“Our focus is safe sleeping,” said Davis. Keeping Babies Safe addresses its message about sleep products to pediatricians, gynecologists, social services agencies and pre-natal classes.

Hand me down cribs are a bad idea, said Davis. “Second hand cribs are the leading cause of infant deaths. Old cribs should be disassembled and disposed of. Throw out the loose screws and parts.”

Following the AAP guidelines, Davis also said that her organization recommends that babies sleep on their backs, and that cribs should be bare.

Besides crib safety, Keeping Babies Safe lists juvenile product recall information, and provides education about the risks of soft bedding, crib bumpers and stuffed animals in cribs. The organization also addresses the proper and safe use of portable cribs and play yards.

See our buying advice and Ratings (available to subscribers) for a wide range of products for babies and kids including cribs, bassinets and play yards.

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Merri Rosenberg

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