Time to drop that drop-side crib off at the dump. On December 15, 2010, the US Consumer Protection Safety Commission (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. The popular style of crib comes with a side rail that moves up and down, allowing parents to more easily lift their child from the crib. 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.
In its vote, the CPSC ruled to outlaw the manufacture, sale, and re-sale of the cribs. According to an Associated Press report, the new standard requiring cribs to have fixed sides only will take effect in June 2011. The CPSC will also prohibit hotels and childcare centers from using drop-side cribs, though those facilities would have up to a year to purchase fixed-side replacements.
As the AP reports, drop-side cribs have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000 and are suspected in another 14 infant fatalities. In the past five years, more than nine million drop-side cribs have been recalled, including cribs from big-name companies such as Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp., and Pottery Barn Kids. The new CPSC crib standards not only ban drop-sides, but also mandate tougher safety testing for cribs and clear assembly instructions. When parents put together a crib at home, new rules will call for all crib pieces to be labeled, a measure the CPSC hopes will cut down on the assembly problems many parents encountered with drop-side cribs.
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum hailed the ban of drop-side cribs and forthcoming standards as a true step forward for child safety. "I believe these new standards will markedly reduce crib-related hazards and help to ensure that young children sleep more safely in their cribs," Tenenbaum told reporters after the vote.