Simplicity and Graco Crib Recall Frustrates Parents, as Repair Kits Nowhere to Be FoundOct 3, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
When defective Simplicity and Graco cribs were recalled last month, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) said that the recall was so urgent that parents should not allow their children to sleep in the cribs even “one more night”. But now, parents who are calling Simplicity, Inc. as instructed to order a repair kit for the recalled cribs are finding those kits are not so easy to come by. In fact, Simplicity does not even have the repair kits ready.
Simplicity, the maker of the potentially deadly cribs, recalled more than a million of them because a flaw in the design of the beds allowed them to be assembled with the drop rail upside down. When this happened, the rail could separate from the side, creating a gap where a child could become entrapped and suffocate. The deaths of three children have been blamed on the recalled Simplicity and Graco cribs.
But now, nearly two weeks after the recall notice went out, Simplicity is telling anxious parents that it could be three to four weeks before they get a repair kit to fix the cribs’ defects. That’s because the CPSC allowed the company to issue the recall prior to designing and manufacturing the kits. The CPSC said this was necessary because of the immediate danger posed by the hazardous cribs.
What’s worse, parents who have asked Simplicity to overnight repair kits say they’re not being told that the kits aren’t ready. Rather, Simplicity is sending out replacement parts that don’t even include installation instructions. Apparently, the replacement parts haven’t even been approved by the CPSC.
A least one state Attorney General is disturbed at the way the entire Simplicity and Graco crib recall is playing out Michigan AG Lisa Madigan has called on Simplicity to refund parents for the dangerous cribs so that they can purchase safer bedding for their children now. So far, Simplicity has declined to do this and the CPSC has been backing the company up.
Of course, the CPSC’s conduct in this whole tragic story has been less than stellar. According to the Chicago Tribune, when the agency investigated the death of a 9-month-old boy in one of the defective cribs in 2005, its inspector did not even bother to identify the type of crib involved in his death. The child’s distraught parents said that CPSC did not even inspect he Simplicity crib that killed him. The Chicago Tribune also reported that the CPSC only decided to issue the crib recall after it learned that the newspaper was about to publish an expose detailing the agency’s shoddy 2005 investigation.
For its part, Simplicity is claiming that it only sent replacement parts to consumers who asked for them, and never meant for anyone to believe they would be getting a repair kit so soon. And Simplicity says that when the kits are ready, they will come with both written instructions and an English and Spanish video that will direct consumers as to the kit’s proper installation. So far though, Simplicity has had no advice for parents who own the recalled cribs and are wondering were their babies should sleep tonight.