Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Guidelines Make Some Cribs Safer and Others Illegal

If you were hoping to buy a second-hand crib, you might want to review the new federal guidelines, which might make the sale and purchase of the one you wanted illegal. As of Tuesday (June 28th), the sale of all drop-side cribs is now illegal but they're not the only cribs to get the axe on the marketplace.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has deemed drop-side cribs unsafe and illegal to sell after attributing many infant deaths to their use. They also are targeting cribs that could become unsafe after long-term use. The commission is testing cribs for loose screws, slats that could break, or any other type of flaw that could allow a baby to become trapped or stuck after repeated use. Cribs will now routinely be pushed in a number of directions 72,000 times to replicate normal wear and tear over the years. In addition, a 45 pound weight will be dropped on the mattress support 750 times. These thorough tests should weed out the cribs likely to become dangerous from normal use.

Besides rigorous physical tests of cribs, the CPSC is also ensuring that crib assembly instructions are easy to understand. Unsafe assembly was the culprit in a number of past crib deaths.

The problem with all these new changes is that parents won’t be able to immediately find a crib that has met these standards. There are currently no labels to indicate that a crib has been tested. Retailers are told when cribs have been tested with the new procedures but they are not required to label cribs accordingly. Until changes are made, parents will need to specifically request the information from the retailer or manufacturer. The CPSC adds that most cribs that families are currently using probably wouldn’t meet these new regulations.

The change in testing cribs is being welcomed by many parents and advocacy groups. A parent should be able to leave their child in a crib every day and know that they’re safe. Hopefully, these new standards will bring down the number of children that are injured or killed in cribs each year.

Are you looking to purchase a new crib?

U.S. Sets Rigorous New Safety Standards for Cribs [Time]