NEW YORK CITY – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is trying to make cribs safer for infants. On Sunday, she outlined a new legislative initiative to ban the manufacture and sale of “drop-side cribs.”
In some cases, the cribs’ drop-side can slide or detach, creating enough space to trap and suffocate an infant. At least 32 babies have died in drop-side cribs since 2000.
“Whether it’s a resale on Craig’s list, whether it’s through a regular manufacturer, whether it’s through a store, no daycare center, no child care provider, no hospital will be able to have drop side cribs,” Gillibrand said.
The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission has pledged to ban drop side cribs by the end of the year and make fixed-side cribs mandatory.
While CPSC staff cannot say that every drop-side crib is hazardous, based on investigations of incidents they have received, the agency believes that overall most drop-side cribs are more prone to mechanical failure than similar designed fixed-side cribs. In addition, older cribs may not meet current voluntary standards. Factors that contribute to safety problems in older cribs include:
- The longer a crib is used, the more 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 likelihood that crib parts can be damaged or lost.
- Wood warps and shrinks over time and glue can become brittle. This can lead to joint and slat failures.
Important Message from CPSC: CPSC reminds parents not to use any crib with missing, broken, or loose parts. Make sure to tighten hardware from time to time to keep the crib sturdy. When using a drop-side crib, parents should check to make sure the drop side or any other moving part operates smoothly. Always check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement. Disengagements can create a gap and entrap a child. In addition, do not try to repair any side of the crib. Babies have died in cribs where repairs were attempted by caregivers.
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 .