For generations, thousands of U.S. parents put their infants in drop-side cribs because they were cheap and gave parents easy access to their child. But as the Associated Press reports, the era of drop-side cribs has officially come to an end. After the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers since 2000 and millions of crib company recalls because of malfunctioning hardware, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted unanimously to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of drop-side cribs in the U.S.
Anti drop-side cribs rule takes effect June 2011
Drop-side cribs will be prohibited for private use, as well as in hotels and childcare centers. Childcare centers will have one year from the official date of the June 2011 ban to purchase new, non-drop-side cribs.
The danger drop-side cribs present
With some variety, drop-side cribs are generally made from cheaper wood and plastic than more artisan infant and toddler cribs. Hardware malfunction related to design and cheap materials can cause the drop-side crib rail to partially detach, creating a gap in which an infant or toddler’s head can become caught. Infant strangulation or suffocation has been the direct result for at least 32 U.S. infants and toddlers since 2000, and 14 more infant fatalities are believed to have been related to the drop-side crib flaw. The CPSC has been considering a drop-side crib ban for some time.
Cribs from companies such as Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp. and Pottery Barn Kids have been part of the 9 million drop-side crib recalls over the past five years.
U.S. drop-side cribs standard ‘one of the strongest in the world’
According to CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum, the new U.S. regulation of drop-side cribs is among the most stringent in the world. New testing standards will help catch manufacturing defects that can allow larger, stronger children to place themselves in a precarious position when they shake or push on a crib. Better labeling to ensure that parents do not incorrectly assemble cribs will also be instituted. In total, the new standard will “help to ensure that young children sleep more safely,” Tenenbaum said after the CPSC vote.