CPSC Ban on Drop-Side Cribs Imminent

We recently wrote that U.S. regulators approved banning <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">drop-side cribs. Now, following that proposal and recalls of the dangerous infant products to the tune of about 10 million since 2007, the ban looks as if it will be in place sooner rather than later, according to a recent USA Today report.

As recently as June, a massive two million drop-side cribs were recalled and which were followed by a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposal for new crib standards The new rules, which would ban the sale of new and used drop-side cribs and prohibit their use in hotels, day-care centers, and other commercial facilities, were approved by the CPSC in 5-0 vote recently.

The approval of new mandatory standards marks the agency’s first overhaul of regulations for infant beds in almost three decades. A previous statement from the CPSC said its staff is working to finalize the proposed mandatory crib standards in 2010.

It seems, added USA Today, the ban will be finalized this December. The original Congressional mandate scheduled these changes for two years in the future; however, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, pressured by consumer pressure following increasing reports of deaths and injuries, has taken steps to publish the rules before year-end, explained USA Today.

The federal safety rules in place today have been in effect for tens of years and involve products only being deemed defective after continually breaking or malfunctioning, said USA Today

Drop-side cribs became 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. Nine million drop-side cribs have been recalled over the past five years because of such risks. In May, the CPSC warned parents to stop using such cribs.

USA Today noted that crib makers moved from metal to plastic hardware and cheaper wood, only worsening the problem.

Regardless, manufacturers opted to maintain their design, sometimes placing the blame on consumers who they claim did not properly assemble the cribs, said USA Today. Stork Craft, Dorel, and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association all publicly blamed consumers in the face of mounting fatalities, wrote USA Today.

Some 32 children died since 2000 in accidents linked to drop-side cribs; 14 deaths were due to entrapment accidents likely caused by a drop-side, said the CPSC.

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