Push on For Congress to Ban Dangerous Drop Side Cribs

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y, says she will introduce legislation this week to ban <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">dangerous, drop side cribs. Such cribs have killed scores of children, and have been the subject of numerous recalls.

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.

Late last year, crib manufacturers did vote to phase out the sale of drop side cribs, but the action is voluntary. According to the Associated Press, some retailers, including Babies R Us and Wal-Mart, have taken them off sale floors. But the cribs – both new and used – continue to be sold at a variety of retail outlets and online.

As we’ve reported previously, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued 11 recalls involving more than 7 million drop-side cribs due to suffocation and strangulation hazards created by the drop side in the past five years. Since 2000, at least 32 infants and toddlers since suffocated or were strangled in a drop-side crib, and such cribs are suspected in an additional 14 infant fatalities during that time.

Earlier this month, the agency said it is working on implementing new and vastly improved mandatory federal standard for cribs this year. The standard will incorporate, at minimum, the new voluntary industry standard banning drop-side cribs from the U.S. However, the new standard would not be fully implemented until sometime in 2011.

At a news conference over the weekend, Gillibrand said she would introduce legislation this week to outlaw the manufacture, sale and resale of all drop side cribs and ban them from day-care centers and hotels. According to the Associated Press, Gillibrand wants to accelerate efforts for a ban, from Congress or the CPSC, and highlight concerns about the cribs to parents who are using them.

“There still are thousands and thousands of children who are sleeping every night in drop-side cribs and we need to protect them,” said Gillibrand.

At the news conference, the Senator was joined by the parents of 6-month-old Bobby Cirigliano, who died in a drop side crib in 2004, and the family of 10-month-old Tyler Witte, who died in a similar crib in 1997.

This is not the first time Gillibrand has addressed the issue of dangerous drop side cribs. In April, she called on Craigslist to immediately remove online listings of dangerous Simplicity drop-side cribs currently for sale.

Since 2005, Simplicity cribs have been linked to 13 infant injuries, and have been the subject of numerous recalls. However, they are still sold in the second-hand market and may still be in use by parents who are unaware of the recalls.

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