CPSC to Get Tough on Crib Safety

We often report on <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">defective baby cribs, crib recalls, and injuries and deaths resulting from these products. Now, the LATimes reports that Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a strong warning yesterday regarding defective baby cribs, while also committing to new federal safety standards in 2010.

“Now is the time to create a state-of-the-art crib standard and not let special interests hijack the process,” said Tenenbaum at the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization in Washington, DC, quoted the LATimes. “I say no more to the tired tactic of blaming parents in the press when CPSC announces a recall that involves a death,” she added.

The CPSC’s Website, said the LATimes, indicates that it has recalled nearly seven million cribs since 2007, with most—six million—constructed with drop sides. 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.

A newly mandated database—part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008—would, for the first time, make consumer complaints available to the public, said the LATimes, which added that the database is scheduled to be operational by March 2011. Safer Products.gov, once available, would allow consumers to both report issues with products and have access to reports on safety-related incidents, said the LATimes.

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 seven million cribs.

We recently wrote about three infant deaths that prompted a recall of all Generation 2 Worldwide and “ChildESIGNS” drop side cribs. The three babies suffocated after becoming entrapped between the crib mattress and the drop side when the drop side detached. Also, in July 2007, an eight-month-old child from Newark, Ohio suffocated when he became entrapped between the drop side and the crib mattress. The drop side of his crib had detached due to a broken plastic stop tab on the lower track. In October 2003, an eight-month-old child from Richmond, Indiana suffocated when he became entrapped between the drop side and the crib mattress. The plastic hardware on the drop side was broken and allowed the drop side to detach from the crib headboard in one corner. In September 2002, a six-month-old from Staunton, Virginia suffocated when he became entrapped between the drop side and crib mattress. The lower drop side track was missing two screws, which allowed it to pull away from the headboard post and detach.

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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