Cribs are supposed to be the safest place in the house for a parent to leave a baby unattended and any new parent shopping for a new crib should now feel a little more confident that their child will indeed be safe. Beginning Tuesday, companies that manufacture or sell baby cribs in the United States have to comply with the latest safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The standards will no longer allow the manufacture and sale of so-called drop side cribs, where one side or both sides of the crib can be lowered to provide easier access to a baby.
"[The] detaching drop side rails have been associated with at least 32 infant deaths since 2000," says Yvonne T. Maddox, of the National Institutes of Health. "Gaps may form between the crib mattress and the drop side rails, due to errors in assembly or installation or to wear or malfunction from use," she explains. As a result a baby’s head could get caught between the mattress and the side rails, leading to suffocation, or the baby could fall out of the crib.
The CPSC says there have been a reported 3,520 incidents and injuries, including infants falling from cribs, skull fractures and babies getting their limbs caught between the crib slats from November 1, 2007 to April 11, 2010.
CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis says the new safety standards also require manufactures to provide stronger hardware, like bolts and screws so the entire crib is better secured; crib slats need to be stronger, so babies can’t accidentally kick them out and the mattress supports to avoid any possible gaps which again could trap a baby or cause the infant to fall out of the crib.