Crib Safety Tips: Moms Beware!
September is Baby Safety Month, but lately moms have been feeling anything but. The recent spate of food recalls from salmonella eggs to lead contamination found in several popular baby and children’s fruits and fruit juice brands from Gerber and Beech Nut to a few organic favorites found at Whole Foods, leaves me wondering who is really keeping our children safe.
One of the biggest areas of concern recently has been crib safety. Cribs are supposed to be the one place where moms can safely leave their babies unattended. But the problems with back-saving drop-side cribs are alarming. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 10 million drop-side cribs since 2007, including 2 million in June alone. Recently, the CPSC proposed new crib standards that will ban the sale of drop-side cribs and prohibit their use in hotels and day care centers after it is finalized.
A recent story in USA Today said this: “Under the federal safety rules that have been in effect for decades, if products repeatedly break or otherwise malfunction, it’s considered a defect. Yet 14 crib companies amassed more than 900 incident reports about drop-side cribs that were falling apart, injuring and killing infants before they recalled the cribs, according to a USA Today analysis of CPSC data.”
“The hundreds of reports, involving manufacturers including Delta Enterprise, Stork Craft, Dorel and the now-defunct Simplicity, paint a harrowing picture. Crib rails, slats and attachment points broke, trapping the heads and feet of hundreds of babies, according to the CPSC,” the USA TODAY story continued.
For years many of the manufacturers, including the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, which ironically sponsors Baby Safety Month every year, have blamed consumers, saying that parents had assembled the cribs incorrectly and used them with broken parts. Under the new leadership of Brenda Berg of Scandinavian Child, the JPMA seems to be taking a smarter, less-insulting approach.
Unfortunately, we can’t rely on manufacturers to keep our babies safe. Check the recall list at cpsv.gov before you purchase a crib (note: Pottery Barn Kids, Graco and Stork Craft are on the list).
If you do purchase a drop side crib, follow these safety tips from the CPSC:
- Avoid using cribs that are 10 years or older.
- Follow the directions closely. If they are hard to understand, call the company. If there are pieces left over after assembly or if a piece is not fitting right, call the manufacturer before use.
- Check the crib routinely. When you change the sheets, make sure the bolts and screws are secure and that the drop side is on track. Also, look for any gaps between the mattress and the sides of the crib. If there’s a space wider than two fingers, stop using the crib.
- Don’t try to repair a crib yourself. About 30% of crib deaths are caused by broken cribs with homemade repairs.
Make sure your baby has a safe place to sleep. Are you concerned about drop side cribs? Have you been thinking of buying one?
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