WASHINGTON -- The government took a big step Wednesday toward eliminating from stores, hotels and daycare centers any crib with a side rail that can be raised and lowered - so-called drop-side cribs.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission proposed new rules that
would ban the manufacture, sale and resale of drop-side cribs. The
new crib standard, likely to take effect next year, would also
outlaw drop-sides at motels, hotels and childcare facilities.
CPSC said the cribs could pose a suffocation or entrapment risk to
The recall involves all Pottery Barn Kids drop-side cribs
regardless of model number.
The company is offering free kits to
immobilize the drop-side rail of the cribs.
Drop-side cribs, around for decades, have come under scrutiny in
recent years because of hardware problems that can lead to the
drop-side rail partially detaching from the crib.
When that happens, it can create a dangerous "V"-like gap between the
mattress and side rail where a baby can get caught and suffocate or
With Wednesday's vote, the commission agreed to develop a new
standard to make cribs with four fixed sides mandatory.
It also proposed more stringent tests for cribs and the use of more durable
materials, such as metal screws instead of wooden ones.
"We will have a new crib standard after 28 years," said
Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "We've seen a number of tragedies because
we had such a weak crib standard."
Drop-sides have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants
and toddlers since 2000 and are suspected in another 14 infant
fatalities. In the past five years, more than 9 million drop-side
cribs have been recalled, including about 2 million recalled last
month from Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp. and several other
Crib-makers have already started phasing out drop-sides and big
retailers such as Babies R Us aren't selling them. An organization
that sets voluntary industry standards, ASTM International, backed
a drop-side ban late last year.
Mike Dwyer, executive director of the Juvenile Products
Manufacturers Association, which represents over 90 percent of the
crib industry, says his group has worked with CPSC on the proposed
new standard and fully supports the commission's efforts.
While drop-side cribs have been used for many years, consumer
advocates say today's drop-sides are not as sturdy as those of the
past. Many newer cribs have plastic tracking guides for the side
that drops down - made of materials that critics say are more prone
to breaking than the metal rods on cribs many of our parents used.
Industry officials also attribute some of the problems
associated with drop-sides to parents assembling the cribs
Congress has targeted drop-side cribs, too, with legislation to
outlaw them from New York Democratic lawmakers Sen. Kirsten
Gillibrand and Rep. Joe Crowley.
Wednesday's vote by the commission for a new crib standard will
be followed by a comment period, with a final rule and vote
expected in December. If approved, the new standard would probably
not become effective until next summer.
Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association: