The list of baby necessities seems to grow each year: today's expectant parents are adding everything from Pack 'n Plays to Boppy Fun Gyms to their baby registries. However, one item—and the accessories that come with it—remains one of the most important purchases any new mom or dad will make: a crib. With Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) ranking among the top causes of unexpected infant deaths in the United States, the choice of Baby's first bed proves more crucial than ever.
The History Behind Crib Safety Requirements
According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), in 1973 as many as 200 infants in the United States died annually from crib injuries. Recognizing the need for safer cribs, CPSC issued mandatory standards in 1973, 1976, and 1982, with specific requirements for side height, panel cutouts, and other factors.
In December 2010, the CPSC voted unanimously to ban drop-side cribs, citing years of recalls and the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers over the past decade. Safety problems with drop-side cribs have centered around malfunctioning hardware and assembly problems that cause the drop-side to partially detach from the crib, creating entrapment and suffocation risks. The new CPSC crib standards not only ban drop-sides, but also mandate tougher safety testing for cribs and clear assembly instructions.