New Crib Safety Guidelines: What Parents Need to Know 29158

Starting Tuesday, June 28, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ban on drop-side cribs will take effect.  The cribs, which allow parents to lower one side of the crib for easier access, are responsible for 150 suffocation and strangulation deaths between 2007 to 2010.

The CPSC voted unanimously to overhaul the rules governing crib safety in July 2010, the first such move in nearly 30 years.

Manufacturers and retailers must make and sell only compliant beginning tomorrow, but rental cribs, such as are available in hotels, child care centers, and furniture rental companies, have until December of 2012 to comply with the new rules.

The new standards:

  • Ban drop-side construction altogether, requiring instead that cribs have fixed sides.
  • Require that mattress supports are stronger.
  • Improve the strength of the crib slats.
  • Require that crib hardware be more durable and less likely to fail.
  • Make crib safety testing more rigorous.

"I am very pleased that the new mandatory crib standards will stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous traditional drop-side cribs and will vastly improve the structural integrity of cribs," said CPSC chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum in a statement.

The CPSC has published a Q&A for parents (visit the drop-side crib info page and scroll down to the "Consumers" section) with information on what drop-side crib owners can do.  Some key points families should know:

  • Families should not sell or donate a drop-side crib, even if it has been been fitted with immobilizing hardware.  Disassemble and discard the crib instead.
  • Parents can see if their particular drop-side crib has been recalled, and request a free hardware kit to immobilize the drop-side.
  • Some manufacturers may consider offering incentives or partial refunds for drop-side cribs, though they are not required by law to do so.
  • If you have a drop-side crib and are unable to purchase a new crib, check your crib's hardware frequently, do not use the drop-side function, and check regularly to see if your crib has been recalled.

For more on crib safety, see: