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Crib Recall Coming Tomorrow, Said to be One of the Largest in U.S. History

Nov 23, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

A massive recall of drop side cribs is expected to be announced by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) tomorrow.  It is not yet known what brands of cribs will be involved in the recall, but according to a report on CBS News, it will likely be one of the biggest crib recalls in U.S. history.

Nearly 5 million cribs have been recalled since 2007, and many of these recalls have involved cribs with drop sides.  Drop side cribs are popular because they allow caregivers to easily access the beds. Unfortunately, poor design, poorly written assembly directions, or broken pieces can all cause the side rail to fall unexpectedly, or separate from the rest of the bed, creating an entrapment hazard. In many instances, children have been injured and even killed after becoming entrapped in a gap between the side rail and headboard of a drop side crib.

Last March, we reported that ASTM International, a voluntary standards organization, had proposed regulations that would ban drop side cribs in the U.S.  The standards would require that all four sides of the crib be rigidly attached to one another. That eliminates the moving parts that have broken loose and created entrapment hazards. A small portion of the top of a crib railing would be allowed to fold down, so that people who need it would still have easier access to the crib. According to CBS News, that proposal was recently approved, but the new standards are only voluntary.

At least one retailer, Toys ‘R Us has already decided to phase out drop side cribs, and has quit ordering the beds from manufacturers. According to CBS News, the legislature in Suffolk County, on New York's Long Island, has banned the sale of dropdown side cribs, starting in February.

CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum told CBS News that her agency would soon be proposing mandatory safety standards for cribs.  The agency has allowed voluntary standards, but that has not been enough, she said.

A safety expert told CBS News that parents should check the CPSC Web site to determine if the crib they are using has already been recalled, especially if it has drop sides.  The CPSC has also cautioned consumers to double check the hardware on their cribs, to insure that side rails can't move back and forth.  Finally, the agency is urging parents to no longer move the side rail up and down on any drop side crib.  


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