Tag Archives: drop side cribs
We’ve been following changing crib regulations for the past year, and while retail stores, daycares, and hotels have removed these antiquated and dangerous models, the internet is still not thoroughly regulated in regards to selling drop side cribs merchandise. A piece in USA Today mentions that, while drop-side cribs were officially banned on June 28, they continue to surface on Craigslist and eBay.
Much like buying secondhand baby products, purchasing on the internet is another approach, albeit risky, to saving money with a new child. Nevertheless, shopping for used baby furniture online poses greater risks than going to a consignment or thrift store for the same products – especially if you browse through listings on Craigslist or eBay.
While eBay, according to USA Today, has regulations in place and recently shut down crib auctions, sellers of drop-side cribs continued to slip through previously. Craigslist, on the other hand, is not as thoroughly monitored. Although the site changed its “prohibition notices and information page” to reflect recent crib regulations, listings are still flagged by users only.
While purchasing used baby products online is one option for saving money with a new child, approach it with caution – much more than if you were purchasing secondhand goods in person. With all secondhand baby products, online or in person, always be wary of furniture, as these items have the most wear and tear and are inferior in quality to new products. Additionally, as you can see from the recent news stories, recalled products may pop up online.
A parent in person can test out the sturdiness of the baby product; on the internet, this is not possible, and instead, the buyer relies on the seller’s description, which is not always accurate.
For inexpensive baby products, go to the internet for clothing, but avoid it altogether for furniture, as it poses too many risks. If secondhand baby furniture is a must, however, because of budget, opt for hand-me-downs or browse through thrift and consignment stores – or any place where you can test the stability of the item before purchasing.
On a purely logical level of safety concerns, drop side cribs would be tossed, and parents would purchase stationary-side models for their babies. Although drop side cribs are banned from retailers, secondhand stores, daycares, hotels, and any establishment using or selling cribs, parents are an exception. While owning a drop side crib is not illegal if you are a parent, what about the safety of your child?
The North County Times describes the dilemma parents are facing. When you receive a drop side crib as a hand-me-down or already own one and cannot afford another model, what do you do? If a new stationary crib is out of your budget for the moment, the North County Times piece suggests the following:
• Research any recalls from the manufacturer. If cribs by the manufacturer were never recalled, your design is likely safer than those that were.
• Check for any hazards. As we saw in various instances, poorly- or cheaply-made hardware caused many drop sides to fall down on a child inside the crib.
At the same time, if you can purchase a new crib, what design should you buy? Presently, baby furniture retailers carry stationary-side cribs only, but not all are the same.
At the moment, however, convertible cribs are the latest trend for parents. The product lives up to its name and is designed to last for several years. Once a child is too large for the crib, it converts to a toddler bed, which a child may use up through preschool. Rather than the two years you ordinarily get from a crib, a convertible design gives you at least four. Some convertible cribs even take this concept a step further. This AFG Furniture crib converts to a toddler bed and then to a full-size day bed or sofa bed.
Ever since the ban on drop side cribs, safety standards for children’s sleep areas are being reconsidered and examined. Although drop side cribs are being phased out by retailers and daycare centers, this type of baby furniture is not the only hazard for a young child.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) decided to revisit a study done by Dr. Bradley Thatch from 1995 to 2008 regarding crib bumpers. Although the CPSC dismissed the study a few years ago, the results of 27 suffocation deaths are now being reconsidered and examined closer.
Even though examining crib bumpers is in early stages, the drop side crib ban resulted in the CPSC making a list of suggestions through the “Safe Sleep” campaign that started after the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008. No drop side cribs, as explained in the New York Times piece, is mandatory, and sleep positioners and baby monitor cords should be used with discretion. New regulations for bassinets and toddler beds are being developed currently.
Although positioners, pillows, and bumpers are questionable inside a crib, where and how a baby is placed for sleeping are additional safety considerations. An article from The Times Herald from Norristown, Penn., recommends that a new baby not share the same bed with parents and that a baby not be put to sleep on a soft surface such as a pillow or waterbed. When a small child is with one or more parents in a bed, an adult-sized person can roll over and smother the baby or small child. Even though cribs are the most common sleeping place for babies, the “family bed” or sleep-sharing theory recommends babies sleep with parents, and families too poor to afford a crib may place the child in the same bed with adults. Although sleep-sharing theories claim this is not physically or emotionally harmful for a child, a small child or baby is put at risk when an adult-sized person sleeps in the same bed.
These days, retailers of baby furniture are shifting their stocks from drop side designs to other models. Reacting to the ban on drop side cribs by the CPSC, retailers ranging from the small baby boutique to chain stores are removing drop side cribs from shelves. The effects of this ban, however, spread beyond retailers, and everyone from daycares and hotels to parents and consignment stores needs to make significant changes.
Childcare centers appear to be hit hardest by the ban, according to a story in Bloomberg Businessweek. Daycares and similar facilities have a year to remove all drop side models and replace them with something safer. Although the costs are only an approximation now, 59,555 daycare centers may need to spend $550 million over the next 12 months to replace older drop side models. About 43,000 hotels and inns also need to remove drop side cribs and replace them with safer models and have six months to do so.
Consignment and thrift stores, although seeing increases in general sales, have had their baby product supplies diminished because of the ban. Even with these restrictions in place, drop side and other unsafe designs can lurk in a secondhand store, and parents must inspect a crib for hazards before purchasing.
Drop side cribs were falling out of favor even before the ban, as convertible designs have more appeal, but parents still need to check their child’s sleeping area for any suffocation or fall hazards. Although drop side cribs are quickly on the way out, the ban may have spurred another similar restriction: crib bumpers. As a similar suffocation hazard, crib bumpers have resulted in 14 deaths since 2008, and Illinois wants to remove them. While bumpers have not been banned yet, parents should still look for alternative approaches to cushioning their child inside a crib.
As we’ve reported on here, drop side cribs have been recalled by the millions since 2009, and a ban was proposed earlier this year. As of this week, however, the ban on drop side cribs is official. With 32 infant deaths since 2000 (and probably more before this point) and millions of products by major manufacturers recalled, this seems inevitable. But how will this affect the retailers and manufacturers of baby furniture?
According to the link above, manufacturers, retailers, and child care facilities have about seven months to remove the product. As the CPSC ban is definite, no more drop-side cribs can be sold in stores, and crib manufacturers can no longer make this product. We even discussed, a few months ago, about manufacturers considering different crib designs. No replacement has been discussed yet.
Before new cribs hit shelves, additionally, more safety testing will be done, according to the article. As loose parts are the main hazard of drop side cribs, more testing will be done and better labeling added to all future crib designs.
While this means that parents looking for a new crib won’t need to avoid these products at retailers, those shopping for secondhand baby furniture have more of a challenge. The CPSC decision also bans drop side cribs from resale. Essentially, flea markets, thrift and consignment stores, and online markets (such as Craigslist and eBay) should no longer be carrying these products. Nevertheless, as drop side cribs could be donated to a thrift store and still end up on shelves, parents looking to save money with baby products need to be vigilant.
The third target of the CPSC decision is childcare facilities. This encompasses all locations in which cribs for a child are found, such as daycare centers and hotels offering baby furniture.
Although this decision by the CPSC is immediate, retailers, manufacturers, resellers, and childcare centers have until June 2011 to remove all drop side cribs. Beyond this point, any of these entities can face a fine.
This past week, various baby products from major manufacturers were taken out of stores. The most significant is Graco strollers: Two million strollers were recalled after four infant deaths that occurred between 2003 and 2005. According to records from the CPSC, children became trapped inside the strollers and were strangled in models manufactured before 2008. If a child was not strapped in correctly with these older designs, he or she could slide between the tray and bottom of the seat, get stuck, and could then be cut, experience breathing problems, or get strangled. Graco’s Quattro Tour and MetroLite stroller and travel system models from 2007 and back are being recalled; all Graco products manufactured from 2008 to the present are safe to use.
More drop-side cribs were also recalled recently. Designs by Ethan Allen, Angel Line, and Victory Land were taken off shelves, as they caused children to get stuck, although no deaths occurred. By the end of the year, however, such products would inevitably be removed from stores, anyway, as a ban on drop side cribs had been issued by the government late in spring.
As we’ve gone over before, the best procedure when a product is recalled is to stop use of it immediately. For strollers, this may mean waiting for a repair kit to fix the issue – although, it appears, none are available for these Graco models – or purchasing another model. In the case of Graco, purchasing another model is recommended.
Drop-side cribs are another issue. As the product will be taken off shelves by the end of 2010, no one should continue using this design after that point: stores will no longer carry the product and the product is banned from use or sale in other locations, such as secondhand stores, hotels, and daycare centers.
They’re somewhat pervasive as a design, but 2009 saw a significant recall of drop side cribs. We reported about the drop side crib recall for Stork Craft products earlier this year, which included about two million cribs pulled from shelves due to infant deaths. But, with several similar cases and recalls occurring over the past 10 years, the government has decided to ban drop side cribs, according to a recent story from the Washington Post. Although this design has been used since the 1940s, the government is now deciding to ban them by the end of 2010.
More specifically, drop side cribs have caused 32 infant deaths since 2000 and seven million models have been recalled due to associated strangulation and suffocation hazards. In all cases, the movable side manages to become detached and falls down, trapping the child face-first into the mattress. This can occur if the drop side isn’t installed correctly by the parents, but it can also happen if the hardware keeping the side in place fails. This risk is heightened even more for cribs sold second-hand or handed down from other parents or relatives.
What would this ban mean? According to the linked Washington Post article above, retailers of baby products and furniture will no longer be able to sell such cribs. Other establishments catering to parents, such as daycares and hotels, also wouldn’t be able to use them, either. In all cases, those found selling or using drop side cribs would face penalties. Crib manufacturers, on the other hand, have decided to find better methods for dropping a side down in the design for better access to the baby. One instance, as mentioned in the article, is a drop gate, with a side that folds down. Such designs are in the works, although, at some point, an alternative will appear on the market.
The largest crib recall in US history has been broadcast across many news channels and websites, with more than two million cribs being recalled from manufacturer Stork Craft. The crib recall is based on various — and often deadly – injuries resulting from the drop side aspect of these cribs. A drop side has been added to many cribs for a parent to have easy access to a child but, when not installed properly by the manufacturer, these sides can come loose and, by falling on a baby, cause strangulation or suffocation. According to the article linked above, five million of these cribs have been recalled over the past two years.
Although Stork Craft promises to fix this issue by sending owners free repair kits to fix or strengthen the hardware on these cribs, Consumer Reports questions owning a drop side crib at all. Stork Craft isn’t the only manufacturer of these cribs, and, according to Consumer Reports, all drop side cribs can create the same type of injury hazard. Their suggestion? Don’t buy a drop side crib. Instead, opt for a fixed rail design, as this type doesn’t have any large parts that could come loose and trap a baby.
If you own a drop side crib, two options exist at this point: Waiting for a repair kit from Stork Craft or purchasing a fixed rail model. Although cribs themselves can be expensive, purchasing a solid design reduces all of risks associated with a drop rail, such as large parts that can come loose and hardware that may have been designed poorly. As a baby may use a crib for almost two years, having a safe environment for sleeping is important. As, according to Consumer Reports, all types of cribs do not go through significant durability testing, having a design free of loose parts allows for a sturdy and stable environment for the baby.