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The rules and perceptions about crib safety have shifted in the past few years, and with that shift have come new requirements for how cribs must be made. Millions of older cribs remain in people's homes -- cribs that are no longer considered safe. Drop-side cribs, particularly those that are more than a couple of years old, are particularly worrisome because the hardware has a tendency to fail and create gaps that can trap or suffocate a baby.
Avoid using hand-me-down cribs that have not be subject to the latest safety standards, which are intended to give some assurance the crib will remain sturdy for years. And resist the temptation to give away an older crib to a friend or relative.
"There is a real risk of entrapment from drop-side cribs that have been recalled and from those that haven't," says Nancy Cowles, executive director of the safety group Kids in Danger.
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