Deadly Drop-Side Cribs Banned in Unanimous CPSC Decision

<"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">Dangerous, drop-side cribs have finally been banned in the US. Yesterday, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) unanimously voted to adopt tough new crib safety standards would stop the sale, re-sale, manufacture, and distribution of drop-side cribs and would also prohibit drop-side cribs at motels, hotels and childcare facilities. The new crib safety standards go into effect in June, though hotels and child-care centers will have two years to replace their cribs.

According to a statement from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announcing the CPSC vote, drop-side cribs have been implicated in the deaths of at least 32 infants since 2001. They are a suspect in another 14 deaths.

In May, Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation to ban drop-side cribs.

“Enough is enough. Time and time again, drop-side cribs have trapped and suffocated infants, destroying families across the country,” Senator Gillibrand said in the statement. “These products are deadly, and this critically needed action will prevent further senseless deaths by ensuring they never reach another home, nursery room, store, or day care center.”

The CPSC’s new standards also will require mattress supports to be stronger, crib hardware to be sturdier, and more rigorous safety testing of baby beds.

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. Over the years, crib makers moved from metal to plastic hardware and cheaper wood, only worsening the problem. In May, the CPSC warned parents to stop using such cribs.

As any one who reads this blog knows, drop-side cribs have been the subject of numerous recalls. In June alone, more than 2 million were recalled. Since last January, about 1.5 million cribs have been recalled, not counting the 2 million recalled in June, Senator Gillibrand’s statement said.

Consumer advocates joined Senator Gillibrand in praising the CPSC vote.

“This is the strongest crib standard in the world,” Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s long overdue and so important for families.” A Chicago-based consumer advocacy nonprofit, Kids in Danger has pushed for stricter safety rules since the son the organization’s founders, died in a defective portable crib in 1998.

Susan Cirigliano of Long Island, New York told the Chicago Tribune that her eyes welled with tears when she heard the crib rules had passed. Susan and her husband Robert have been pushing for a mandatory safety standard since their 6-month-old son Bobby died in 2004 when the drop-side rail of his crib separated and trapped him.

“You just never know how many lives will be saved by this,” she said. “To see it come to fruition is just amazing.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the drop-side crib ban is seen as a major victory for CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, who set out to remake an agency that had long been a captive of industry. Tenenbaum made crib safety one of her top priorities when she assumed her post in 2009.

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