California Drop-Side Cribs Banned From Production After 30+ Infant Deaths Nationwide

Parents of young children in California and elsewhere should take note: a new ban from the Consumer Product Safety Commission has finally banned the traditional drop-side crib. The reason? More than three dozen deaths have been proved to be caused by failures in the design or have been linked to the same. The Associated Press has more on the potentially fatal products:

The government outlawed drop-side cribs on Wednesday after the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers in the past decade and millions of recalls.

It was a unanimous vote by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of the cribs, which have a side rail that moves up and down, allowing parents to more easily lift their child from the crib.

The new standard requiring cribs to have fixed sides would take effect in June. The move by CPSC would also prohibit hotels and childcare centers from using drop-sides, though those facilities would have a year to purchase new cribs.

Around for decades, drop-side cribs have come under scrutiny in recent years because of malfunctioning hardware, sometimes cheaper plastics, or assembly problems that can lead to the drop-side rail partially detaching from the crib. When that happens, it can create a dangerous “V”-like gap between the mattress and side rail where a baby can get caught and suffocate or strangle.

CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum hailed the new standard for cribs as one of the strongest in the world.

“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 said after the vote.

In all, 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 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled, including cribs from big-name companies such as Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp., and Pottery Barn Kids.

Wary parents in California should keep in mind that second-hand cribs may still have the problematic design features, in spite of an industry-wide ban and millions of crib recalls from various manufacturers.

[Image: John of Austin via Flickr]