Beware: Dangerous Cribs

The drop-side crib, one of the most popular baby cribs in the US, has been responsible for 32 infant and toddler deaths since 2000. Most recently, 6-month-old Bobby Cirigliano of North Bellmore on New York’s Long Island became trapped in the side rail of his drop-side crib when it slid off the tracks and pinned him, causing him to suffocate.

“I just don’t feel complete anymore,” said his mother, Susan Cirigliano.

The cribs popularity has been due mainly to its convenience. With a side that moves up and down, parents can easily lift children from the crib. Drop-sides have been around for decades and chances are, you probably slept in one as a baby. But despite their long run, the drop-side crib may not be around much longer.

Crib safety organizations and the U.S. government are looking into the safety concerns surrounding drop-side cribs. 8 states have banned the manufacturing of them and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently made the move to ban the cribs in the state of New York. With so many potential risks, some are wondering: why haven’t drop-sides been banned in my state?

Your baby’s crib should be a safe haven—not a danger zone. More than 7 million of these cribs have been recalled in the past five years, often because screws, safety pegs or plastic tracking for the rail can come loose or break. The industry insists that babies are safe in drop-sides that haven’t been recalled because they meet government manufacturing standards. But many are concerned that the standards just aren’t high enough.

Although new cribs must meet federal safety standards, manufacturers are not mandated to follow stricter voluntary guidelines from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Only 18 out of 65 manufacturers submit their cribs for testing under JPMA’s rigorous program.

Though the industry has started phasing out drop-sides and big retailers such as Babies R Us and Wal-Mart have taken them off sale floors due to liability concerns, there are still plenty for sale online and many are purchased second-hand. Heirloom drop-side cribs are also passed down through generations and chances are that these old cribs don’t meet today’s enhanced safety standards.

When shopping for a crib, i♥moms recommends looking for the JPMA sticker. Brands that have passed both the federal and voluntary standards include Delta, Evenflo and Simmons. If you have an old crib, be sure to check the following guidelines to determine whether or not it’s safe for your baby:

  1. The mattress should be firm and tight-fitting
  2. There should be no missing or broken hardware or slats
  3. Slats should be no more than 23/8” apart (which is about the width of a soda can)
  4. Corner posts should not be higher than 1/16″
  5. There should be no design cutouts in the headboard or footboard

Tell us what you think about crib safety standards in the US. What kind of crib do you use and does it meet JPMA standards?

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