Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) enacted new mandatory crib standards, establishing the most stringent crib safety standards in the world. The new standards come as a result of recalls of more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007 and a lack of crib safety standard revision in over 30 years.
According to the CPSC, Some of the new mandatory rules for cribs include: (1) stopping the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; (2) strengthening mattress supports and crib slats; (3) requiring crib hardware to be more durable; and (4) making safety testing more rigorous.
“A safe crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. It is for this reason that I am so pleased that parents, grandparents and caregivers now can shop with confidence and purchase cribs that meet the most stringent crib standards in the world,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “From the start, our goal has been to prevent deaths and injuries to babies in cribs, and now the day has come where only stronger and safer cribs are available for consumers to purchase.”
CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. Drop-side cribs with detaching side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000. Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective crib hardware. The new standards aim to prevent these tragedies and keep children safer in their cribs.
Starting on December 28, 2012, child care facilities, including family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, as well as places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, and rental companies must use only cribs that comply with the new crib standards.
The recall has left some parents and caregivers unsure of the safety of their existing cribs and the steps they should take to ensure the safety of their children. Here are a few important points:
- Most cribs purchased before June 28, 2011 will not meet the new safety standards. If you feel the need to replace an older crib, check with the manufacturer or retailer to be sure the crib meets all new CPSC standards.
- The new rules also apply to cribs currently in use at child care centers and places of public accommodation. By December 28, 2012, these facilities must use only compliant cribs that meet the new federal safety standards.
- If you continue to use your current crib, you are encouraged to check the crib frequently to make sure that all hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing, or broken parts.
- A consumer should not resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards, such as trying to resell the product through an online auction site or donating to a local thrift store. CPSC recommends disassembling the crib before discarding it.
- If your crib has a drop-side rail, stop using that drop-side function. If the crib has been recalled, request a free immobilizer from the manufacturer or retailer (particular immobilizer will vary depending on the crib).
Babies spend much of their time sleeping; therefore, the nursery should be the safest room in the house. Check to see if your crib has been recalled.
With any crib, bassinet or play yard, following a few simple rules will keep babies sleeping safely and will give parents a better night’s sleep:
- To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick quilts in a baby’s sleep environment. Also, make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
- Proper assembly of cribs is paramount – Follow the instructions provided and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for assistance.
- Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.
- Set up play yards properly according to manufacturers’ directions. Only use the mattress pad provided with the play yard; do not add extra padding.
- Never place a crib near a window with blind, curtain cords or baby monitor cords; babies can strangle on cords.
For more information on the new crib safety standards, crib recalls and general crib safety, visit the CPSC Crib Information Center.