After Dozens of Deaths, Injuries, CPSC Promises Tougher Standards for Cribs

The day after a <"">recall of cribs that were implicated in the death of a child, the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said her agency will soon formulate tougher safety standards for cribs. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new mandatory standards will be developed by the end of this year.

Since 2007, defective cribs – especially the drop side variety – have killed more than a dozen infants, injured even more and resulted in the recall of 7 million cribs. Just yesterday, Dorel Asia recalled more than 600,000 drop side cribs that caused the strangulation death of a child. Such drop side cribs are popular because they allow caregivers to easily access the beds. Unfortunately, poor design, poorly written assembly directions, or broken pieces can all cause the side rail to fall unexpectedly, or separate from the rest of the bed, creating an entrapment hazard, which can lead to strangulation or suffocation.

According to The Wall Street Journal, most recalled cribs have met the current safety standards for new cribs, which include a mix of mandatory standards set by the government, as well as voluntary standards. The voluntary standards, set by a by a voluntary standards-setting group, are actually tougher than the CPSC’s, which haven’t been updated since 1982, the Journal said. Thanks to a product safety law adopted a year and half ago, the Journal said the CPSC is required to update standards for cribs.

Some of the steps the CPSC has already taken to improve crib safety include adding staff to focus on crib safety, and is upgrading its technology to enable better monitoring of incident databases and improved information sharing within the agency. CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum has also instructed her staff to increase the monitoring of recall corrective-action plans, which usually involve offering consumers-repair kits, the Journal said.

Tenenbaum also said she wants to improve the quality of wood used in cribs and improve mattress supports. She also wants to end the sale of drop side cribs, and according to the Journal, most of the industry has agreed to phase out that type of crib.

Last November, following a massive recall of Stork Craft drop side cribs that had been implicated in the suffocation deaths of four children, Tenenbaum advised that parents and caregivers abandon drop side cribs altogether.

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