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Watch and Share: Check Your Crib for Safety

The drumbeat on drop-side cribs is continuing with the recall announcement today of more than 2 million more cribs. These cribs and the others that have already been recalled may well be in your house. They are made by Childcraft, Delta, Evenflo, Jardine, LaJobi, Million Dollar Baby, and Simmons.

There have been far too many tragedies involving babies and toddlers resulting from dangerous cribs. In the last five years, CPSC has announced 18 recalls involving more than 9 million drop-side cribs. The agency’s staff is actively investigating various crib manufacturers as part of a large, ongoing effort to remove unsafe cribs from the marketplace and your homes.

For many parents, the question is what to do with cribs in use right now. First and foremost after making sure that your crib hasn’t been recalled: Check your crib.

If you’re not quite sure what that means, this video is for you. Watch it, share it and take the advice of CPSC juvenile products engineer Patty Edwards. She is a premier expert on cribs and other nursery products.

(Read the transcript or watch in Windows Media format, or on CPSC’s YouTube Channel.)

If you’ve still got questions, here are a few that CPSC has received, along with answers:

Q: CPSC’s drop-side crib information makes me nervous about owning a drop-side crib, but I can’t afford a new crib. What should I do?

A: Check your crib as shown in the video. If your crib has loose sides or missing or broken pieces that you can’t easily tighten, then move your child to a different safe sleeping place. Depending on the child’s age, this can be a bassinet, a play yard or a toddler bed – so long as that product hasn’t been recalled as well.

Should I get an immobilizer for my crib, even if it hasn’t been recalled? Where do I get them?

An immobilizer stops the drop side from moving outwards as well as up and down. This prevents a baby from getting stuck between the drop side and the rest of the crib. You should get and use an immobilizer for your drop-side crib if it is available. Different cribs need different immobilizers. Contact your manufacturer to see if the company is offering or planning to offer an immobilizer for your crib.

Immobilizers should only be used on cribs that do not have broken or missing hardware. An immobilizer will not make broken cribs safe. An immobilizer will prevent future breakage and protect hardware.

In addition, immobilizers are meant to be used on newer cribs, not cribs that are older than 10 years.

The immobilizer fix kit on my recalled crib forced the drop side to become stationary. I’m short and can’t reach my baby. What can I do?

CPSC’s staff understands how difficult it can be for some moms to use a tall fixed-side crib. Some of us are short moms, too. Convenience, though, is a different question than safety. We at CPSC aim to provide you with the best information available to us to keep your baby safe.

Some manufacturers make cribs with drop-gates rather than drop sides and cribs that are lower to the ground.

If you’re short and are finding your newly fixed-side crib difficult to use, look for a safe solution to reach down to your baby. One solution could be a wide, sturdy step stool, such as the steps used in step aerobics.

I’m using a second-hand drop-side crib. Is this safe for my baby?

Age is a factor in the safety of any drop-side crib. At a minimum, CPSC staff recommends that you not use a crib that’s older than 10 years. Many older cribs may not meet current voluntary standards and can have numerous safety problems.

The more use a particular crib experiences over time, the more that crib will sustain wear and tear on hardware and joints, allowing screws to loosen and fall out and plastic parts to flex and break. Repeated assembly and disassembly increases the likelihood that crib parts can be damaged or lost. In addition, wood warps and shrinks over time, and glue can become brittle. This can lead to joint and slat failures.

Be sure to check your crib regularly and stop using it if you are at all uncertain about its safety.

Do you have other questions? E-mail them to feedback@cpsc.gov.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/06/watch-and-share-check-your-crib-for-safety/