As a consumer advocate, Good Housekeeping has been staying apprised of all news in the recent crib recalls - including the recent Pottery Barn Kids, Graco, Simplicity, and Bassettbaby crib recalls. After numerous deaths and millions of recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the government agency charged with protecting the public from dangerous consumer products, took action today and banned drop-side cribs.
Related: Is Your Baby Stroller Safe?
Drop-side cribs have come under fire in recent years. While they allow parents to more readily and easily lift their child from a crib, malfunctioning hardware or assembly problems have led to the railing partially or wholly detaching from the crib - leading to countless injuries and unspeakable deaths. What was happening was the drop-side would partially unhinge, forming a gap between the rail and the mattress where a child could get caught and suffocate oneself.
Related: How to Keep Your Toddler Safe in Bed
The CPSC ban will go in to effect in June and will not allow for the manufacturing, selling, or reselling of any cribs that have a side rail that moves up and down. Hotels and childcare centers using drop-side cribs will have one year to purchase new cribs deemed safer for toddlers. The new standard the CPSC is setting forth will mandate tougher safety testing on cribs, testing that will more closely mimic how a child actually behaves in a crib - whether that includes shaking the railing or jumping up and down. More stringent labeling will also be required, hoping to reduce the assembly issues that have long plagued parents when setting up cribs.
Despite the recent recalls, cribs are still the safest environment for children. The key is to take proper cautionary measures when purchasing, assembling, and maintaining them. Technical Director of the The Good Housekeeping Research Institute, Stacy Genovese, recommends the guidelines below.
- Do look for a crib certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
- Do be sure slats or spindles are spaced no more than 2 3/8" apart.
- Do make sure you follow the crib manufacturer's instructions when assembling a crib.
- Do check all crib hardware and tighten nuts, bolts, and screws frequently. After a crib is moved, be sure all mattress support hangers are secure. Check hooks regularly to be sure none are broken or bent, since loose or open hooks may allow the mattress to fall.
- Don't buy a crib with any cutout areas on the headboard or footboard - such cutouts could allow your baby's head to get trapped.
- Don't select a crib with corner posts over 1/16" above the end panels (unless they are over 16" high to support a canopy). Babies can strangle if their clothes become caught on corner posts. Unscrew or saw off the corner posts and sand the remaining end panels until they are smooth.
- Don't use a hand-me-down crib unless you are sure it meets current federal and ASTM standards.
- Don't repair any part of the crib without hardware that's approved by the crib manufacturer.
Tell us: Have you used a drop-side crib for your infant?
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