The traditional drop side crib that millions of parents have trusted and relied on to cradle their babies for generations has now been outlawed by the government. After many recalls and the deaths of over 30 infants and young toddlers over the last 10 years, drop side cribs will no longer be a choice for parents when shopping for a crib. The Consumer Product Safety Commission came to a unanimous vote to ban all operations involving the drop side crib in which on side moves up and down, so that a mother or father can easily remove their child. The ban of all operations, involving this crib include: a ban of manufacturing, selling, or reselling in any way. The government has approved a new standard that ensures the safety of all children that need to be in a crib. Cribs will only have fixed sides so children can’t climb out or fall out over the side. The government has also banned all child care institutions, as well as hotels, from using drop side cribs in their establishments.
Drop sides cribs have been criticized for decades for many reasons. These drop side cribs have been known to have malfunctioning hardware, cheaper plastics, and most commonly, assembly problems. Assembly problems have caused numerous instances in which the drop side rail detaches from the crib itself. When this detaching happens, it commonly creates a V-gap between the mattress and side rail. This can cause an infant or toddler to get stuck in this V gap and suffocate causing a needless death. A mother in New York lost her 10 month old son in 1997 when his side rail detached and his neck became trapped between the mattress and side rail. A mother wants to feel a sense of safety when she puts her infant or toddler down to sleep and not have to worry about them possibly suffocating or dying through the night. It is an awful feeling to wake up to your son or daughter trapped and not be able to help them.
There is a new test that will be required for all cribs when being manufactured and before being publicly sold. This test includes testing cribs to mimic a real child behaves in a crib from birth to toddler age. This test will require more force to be added to the crib, such as shaking back and forth, jumping in it, and moving around a lot. This will ensure higher safety standards as it makes sure that the crib can withhold that type of force to it. There will also be new requirements for all crib pieces to be properly and clearly labeled to avoid miss-assembling of cribs and to avoid potential mishaps.Some parents are still using drop side cribs in their homes for their children. However, these parents need to make sure that their particular crib has not been recalled and that the hardware should be checked to make sure it is assembled properly.
As a father of a young infant and a Georgia Product Liability Lawyer, I’m hopeful that regulation and education on crib safety will protect our children from these crib related deaths and injuries.