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CPSC issues warning on drop-side cribs

CPSC issues warning on drop-side cribs

32 fatalities in drop-side cribs in last 9 years

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of its commitment to ensure safe sleep for young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is once again warning parents and caregivers about deadly hazards with drop-side cribs. In the last five years, CPSC has announced 11 recalls involving more than 7 million drop-side cribs due to suffocation and strangulation hazards created by the drop side. CPSC staff is actively investigating several other crib manufacturers for potential drop-side hazards as part of a larger effort by the agency to rid the marketplace and homes of unsafe cribs.

A baby can strangle in the “V” shape when the top portion of the drop side detaches

A baby can strangle in the “V” shape when the top portion of the drop side detaches

CPSC staff has completed a comprehensive review of crib-related infant fatalities reported to the agency between January 2000 and the present. CPSC staff is aware of 32 infant and toddler suffocation and strangulation deaths and hundreds of incidents that were caused by or related to drop-side detachments in cribs made by various manufacturers.

In addition to the 32 deaths the CPSC staff associated with the drop-side detachments, CPSC has received an additional 14 reports of infant fatalities due to entrapment in cribs that could be related to a drop side. The information obtained was insufficient for staff to conclusively determine whether or not the drop side was involved. Of the 32 deaths that were analyzed, some occurred in cribs where the drop side detached without caregivers noticing the detachment, while some other deaths occurred after a consumer tried to repair the detached drop side, but the repair ultimately failed.

In other incidents, consumers unknowingly installed the drop side or drop-side hardware incorrectly. In several cases, this occurred due to incorrect or confusing directions. In these incidents, the drop side still appeared to function as intended, but the stress on the crib hardware resulted in the drop-side detachment.

CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum has committed to parents and caregivers that there will be a new and vastly improved mandatory federal standard for cribs this year. The standard will incorporate, at minimum, the new voluntary standard banning drop-side cribs from the United States market. Due to the new voluntary industry standard, many manufacturers have already stopped selling drop-side cribs or will do so beginning June 1, 2010.

Drop-Side Hazards

CPSC technical staff has determined drop-side cribs generally have a tendency to be less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed sides. Drop-side hardware is prone to break, deform or experience other problems during normal or foreseeable use. The older the crib, the more problems can be expected. When drop-side hardware breaks or deforms, the drop side can detach in one or more corners from the crib. If an infant or toddler rolls or moves into the space created by a partially detached drop side, the child can become entrapped or wedged between the crib mattress and the drop side and suffocate. Infants can also strangle in the “V” shape formed by a drop side that detaches in an upper corner.

Check your crib regularly and make sure it has not already been recalled: http://www.cpsc.gov/cgi-bin/cribs.aspx.

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