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CPSC Warns Parents About Drop-Side Cribs

En Español

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.

As part of its commitment to ensure safe sleep for young children, 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. CPSC will continue to take aggressive action to address any risks and will keep the public informed.

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.

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. While CPSC staff cannot say that every drop-side crib is hazardous, based on investigations of incidents we have received, the agency believes that overall most drop-side cribs are more prone to mechanical failure than similar designed fixed-side cribs.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/05/cpsc-warns-parents-about-drop-side-cribs/

Your Simplicity Crib Recall Questions Answered

En Español
Q: I have a Simplicity Model 8997 Crib. It appears to have the same type of mattress support. I am not sure if it is included in the recall or not. I have not seen it on any of the lists. I am concerned that it is one that was missed. Has this model been evaluated? Have there been any reports of incidents? I am concerned because it does appear to have a gap between the mattress and the sides of the crib. In some areas the gap seems rather large. I would appreciate a response at your earliest convenience.

A: CPSC has heard this question many times since last week’s recall. ALL Simplicity cribs with the tubular metal mattress have been recalled. Because Simplicity is out of business, CPSC does not know all the model numbers that use the tubular metal mattress support. The model numbers listed in the recall are the ones that CPSC is certain exist, but many other model numbers are affected as well.

Q: I just found on the website that my son’s crib was recalled in September of 2008, but I had never seen anything about this until now. It has the tubular mattress support and the site says that all the cribs with this design are being recalled. What if I don’t have a receipt showing when or where it was purchased? Can I still take it back to the store where it was purchased? I don’t want to take it all apart and make a 35 minute trek to my “local” Walmart, and then be told there’s nothing they can do. Please let me know.

A: You do not need a receipt to return a recalled crib to the retailer. The recalled cribs were sold at Walmart, Target, Babies R Us and other stores nationwide. Contact the store where the crib was purchased to receive a refund, replacement crib or store credit. This Simplicity recalls chart shows you numerous Simplicity nursery products that have been recalled and what you can do. CPSC recommends that you bring the recall notice with you to the retailer when you return your crib in case the retailer has questions.

Q: Are retailers required to provide a remedy? If the retailers are not providing a remedy that I like, for instance minimal refunds, do I have any other options?

Because Simplicity is no longer in business, CPSC reached out to retailers to request they voluntarily participate in the recall. Many retailers, including those identified above, have voluntarily agreed to provide consumers with a refund, store credit or replacement crib, at their discretion. If your retailer is refusing to provide any remedy, please let us know so that CPSC staff can contact the retailer.

A company may take into account the age of a product when providing a refund or store credit.

Simplicity Crib with tubular metal mattress support

One of the bars in this Simplicity mattress support has detached. Others are bent.

Q: My crib is part of the Simplicity crib recall due to having a metal tube frame system (for the mattress to rest on). I do not have a drop rail. I checked my crib. It seems fine, no loose parts, it does not wiggle one bit when I try to move/shake it. If my crib seems structurally fine can I let my child sleep on it?

A: Do NOT continue to use this crib or any crib that has been recalled. These Simplicity drop-side and fixed side cribs have been recalled because the mattress support can collapse and pieces can bend or detach. CPSC is aware of a one-year-old who died in a fixed-side Simplicity crib. CPSC also knows of more than a dozen additional incidents involving the recalled cribs collapsing due to bending or detaching metal pieces in the mattress support frame.

Make sure to find an alternate safe sleeping environment for your child until you have a new crib in place. If your baby is less than six months old and is not yet able to push up to his/her hands and knees, you can put your baby to sleep in a bassinet. After that, you can use a play yard. Once your child is mobile and is climbing out, you can use a toddler bed or a mattress on the floor.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/05/your-simplicity-crib-recall-questions-answered/

Is Your Drop-Side Crib on the Recall List?

Graco-branded Lajobi drop-side cribs have now been added to the list of recalled cribs because the hardware can break or fail, allowing the drop side to detach from the crib.

CPSC and LaJobi have received 99 reports of drop-side incidents. In two of them, children became entrapped in the gap created by the detached drop side and were freed by their caregivers. Six other children fell through the gap, including one who sustained a mild concussion.

Since 2007, CPSC has recalled more than 7 million drop-side cribs in which children have died or been injured. Parents and caregivers who own a drop-side crib should check the crib’s brand and label against CPSC crib recalls

Here are some of the biggies:

It is important for parents and caregivers to regularly check cribs for loose or broken parts. If you have a broken crib, don’t use it and don’t try to fix it yourself. Do you have more questions? This crib blog Q&A is designed to answer your questions about what drop-sides are, whether they are safe, how to examine your crib and what to do if your crib has broken, missing or warped parts.

If you have further questions, e-mail them to feedback@cpsc.gov.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/04/is-your-drop-side-crib-on-the-recall-list/

Safe Sleep, Part 1: The Crib

Since 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled almost 7 million cribs. More than 6 million of those have drop sides.

In December, the group that develops voluntary manufacturing standards for cribs, ASTM, revised their standard to no longer allow the sale of cribs that have a traditional drop side. Then, Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and CPSC staff called upon the industry to do even more and create a true state-of-the-art crib standard.

In a two-day workshop on Jan. 19 and 20, ASTM made good progress toward that end. Chairman Tenenbaum has reported to Congress that new mandatory rules for cribs will be established this year.

Understandably, many parents are concerned about crib safety and want answers. Below is a Q&A to help guide you:

What is a drop side?

A drop-side is a movable side of the crib that gives caregivers easier access to the inside of the crib. The traditional drop side consists of a side that slides down to a lower position. Other cribs have movable sides where the the top portion of the side folds down to allow easier access to the inside of the crib. Folding-sided cribs have not had as many problems as cribs with drop sides and are not part of the revised ASTM voluntary standard restriction.

Are all drop-side cribs bad?

The answer isn’t as easy as labeling an entire line of crib products. Here’s why:

We at CPSC hear about the cribs that break. The ones in which children die or get injured. We don’t hear about cribs that are not causing anyone problems. After all, who would complain about a product that’s working as it should? That being said, every week, CPSC receives dozens of incident reports involving drop-side problems in cribs produced by many different manufacturers.

In general, cribs with drop sides have a tendency to be less structurally sound than cribs with fixed sides and are more susceptible to problems from use, being moved, storage and assembly.

How can I tell whether my crib is safe for my baby?

Before you use a crib, check our crib recall list to make sure that the crib has not been recalled. Avoid using older cribs because they may not meet current crib standards. Follow the assembly instructions provided by the manufacturer and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you don’t have instructions or they are difficult to understand, if a part doesn’t seem to fit right or if you have leftover hardware, call the manufacturer for assistance before using the crib.

Regularly check that all visible hardware – every bolt, screw, track and clamp — is securely in place. Make sure the drop side is on its track. If hardware is loose, tighten it. If a manufacturer-supplied screw falls out, don’t replace it with your own. Your home repair screw hasn’t been tested on the crib and can loosen or fall out.

If one side of your crib is loose, do not push the loose side against a wall and continue to use the crib. That wall, along with a loose side, can create a small space in which a child can get caught and smother. Instead, stop using the crib.

crib with loose side pushed against wall

This crib had an unattached side and was pushed against a wall as a solution to the problem. A baby fell into the space, suffocated and died.

How do I check my crib?

Loose wood-to-wood joints make cribs unsafe.

Loose wood-to-wood joints make cribs unsafe.

Every time you change the sheets, make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress. Make sure all visible bolts and screws are tight. With the mattress out of the crib, wiggle the crib to see how tight all the joints are. If the crib feels loose, wobbly or structurally not sound, tighten all hardware. If the crib remains wobbly after tightening, look for loose wood-to-wood joints that may be causing the problem. Stop using the crib if loose wood-to-wood joints are found.

What about fixing it myself?

Duct taped crib in which a child died

Duct tape, along with all other homemade crib fixes, stretch, loosen or break. This repaired crib was involved in the death of a child.

Do not try to fix broken cribs. Do-it-yourself crib repair is always a dangerous repair that can be deadly. Untested screws can loosen (no matter how tight they may be). All kinds of tape, wire and zip ties stretch, no matter how tight a person makes them initially. Cribs are built to meet specific safety standards. By making your own repairs, you may introduce new problems. Babies can be caught in the spaces that result. Do not use broken or modified cribs, these cribs are deadly traps. About 30 percent of crib deaths annually are because cribs are missing hardware, have broken or non-working parts or have had ineffective repairs made to them. As heartbreaking as it sounds, police have opened criminal investigations of parents who had tried to repair broken cribs after babies died in those cribs.

Proper assembly of cribs is paramount. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If the instructions are not clear, call the company that made the crib.

My crib has a drop side but I don’t use the drop side. Do I still need to check my crib?

Yes, you should always do regular checks on your crib to make sure that components are tight and not broken. Parts can still break, causing gaps, even if the drop side is not used.

Is metal hardware safer than plastic hardware?

Metal hardware is not necessarily safer. The problems of loose parts that occur with cribs can happen regardless of the type of hardware used. With rare exceptions, the difference
between metal hardware and plastic is that, with typical use, metal hardware can loosen whereas plastic hardware can both loosen and break.

My crib has broken, missing or warped parts. Now what?

Stop using the crib and contact the manufacturer and CPSC. Check our list of crib recalls to see if your crib has been recalled; you may be entitled to a refund or replacement. Even if no injury or incident has occurred, you can also report product complaints to CPSC on the Web or by phone at (800) 638-2772.

Stop using my crib? So where do I put my baby to sleep?

If your baby is less than six months old and is not yet able to push up to his/her hands and knees, you can put your baby to sleep in a bassinet. Make sure your bassinet has not been recalled. Here’s a list. Also, you can use a play yard. Do not put additional bedding such as pillows, thick quilts, comforters or anything plush into your baby’s sleeping space. More babies die every year from suffocation in plush sleeping environments than from defective cribs. Once your child is mobile and is climbing out, use a toddler bed or mattress on the floor.

Do you have a crib question that hasn’t been answered here? E-mail it to feedback@cpsc.gov and I’ll address it in a future blog.

Coming Soon: Safe Sleep, Part 2: Bedding, Crib Placement and Other Questions Answered

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/02/safe-sleep-part-1-the-crib/