The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a major recall of 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs, including 150,000 with the Fisher-Price Logo. The recall is the largest crib recall in history, and follows reports of four infant suffocations, in addition to reports of more than 100 drop sides detaching from the cribs. It affects cribs sold since 1993. For information about this recall, visit the Parents.com Toy and Product Recall Finder.
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According to Don Mays, senior director of product safety and technical policy for Consumer Reports, consumers should always avoid purchasing cribs with drop sides. Mays says 7 million cribs have been recalled since 2007, and most of the issues have revolved around the drop side and its hardware.
"Do not buy a crib that has a drop side," he says. "We are not convinced that any particular model on the market is durable enough to withstand the regular use and abuse that it can get from a child in a crib."
According to the National Sleep Foundation, by age two a child has spent more time asleep than awake. That makes it all the more vital to provide a place that's safe and secure.
Mays has the following pointers about cribs and crib safety.
Checklist for Crib Owners
1. Check and double-check your own products.
Make sure your crib is safe by checking a recall list. If your crib is the Stork Craft model in question, the company is distributing free repair kits. Call 877-274-0277 or go to the company's website.
2. What if my crib has been recalled?
If your crib is on the recall list, Mays cautions you not to panic. Order the repair kit, he says, and don't make any drastic, immediate changes to where your child sleeps. "A crib still provides the safest environment for a child, particularly a young infant," he says. "We don't want to see people taking children out of cribs and putting them in adult beds, which is even less safe than a recalled crib. What we would like to see is if, in fact, all of the hardware is intact on that crib and, if it's been subject to a recall, that you continue to use the crib but don't use the drop side while you're waiting for the new parts to come in."
3. What if my crib hasn't been recalled?
You should still make sure that your crib is safe. Check to see that all of the hardware is present and nothing is broken. Don't ever use a crib with broken hardware.
Checklist for Crib Shoppers
1. No drop sides.
Mays stresses that you should not purchase a crib with a drop side. "If you're of short stature and you're looking for a crib that's easier to put a child into or take a child out of the crib, there are some cribs that have what they call 'drop gates,' which essentially means the top portion of the side rail folds down," he says. Click here for crib resources.
2. When in doubt consult a professional.
Not everybody is handy with a screwdriver. If you lack certain mechanical skills, be sure and have a professional assemble the crib for you. In the Stork Craft recall, there were reports that many of the drop sides were installed upside down.
3. Make sure the mattress fits.
There should be no gap between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib.
Decorative bedding, like comforters, pillows, shams, and bumpers, can pose suffocation hazards. "A naked crib is the safest crib," says Mays. Stick to the crib sheet and nothing more.
5. Thicker slats are better.
Make sure the crib's wooden slats are robust. Toys "R" Us has actually set a higher slat standard on cribs, leading the industry in strengthening side rails.
Visit consumerreports.org to learn more about cribs and to see recommendations.
Kate Silver for Parents.com