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Simplicity and Graco Crib Recall Repair Kits Finally Ready

Oct 26, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
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The Simplicity and Graco crib recall is over a month old, yet the manufacturer of the defective Simplicity and Graco cribs is only beginning to send out repair kits for the dangerous products.  More than 1 million Simplicity and Graco cribs were recalled last month, after they were linked to the deaths of several children.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Web site, free repair kit will be sent to crib owners who have pre-registered or who register now on Simplicity’s Web site (www.simplicityforchildren.com) or through Simplicity’s hotline at (888) 593-9274. In addition, consumers will be offered a rebate coupon for a future purchase as an incentive to return a reply card indicating that they have successfully installed the repair hardware. Instructions for installing the new hardware are also included on the Simplicity Web site.

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.  

The new repair kits include hardware that will immobilize the drop rail on the defective Simplicity and Graco cribs.  But some consumer advocates have argued that owners of the recalled Simplicity and Graco cribs should be able to return the hazardous cribs to Simplicity for a refund.  There is fear that parents who purchased a Simplicity or Graco crib covered by the recall may have done so specifically because it featured a drop rail, and will not use the repair kit.  According to the Chicago Tribune Review, the CPSC has indicated that Simplicity might offer refunds in individual circumstances when a consumer cannot use the repair kit, however, such action would be entirely at Simplicity’s discretion.  

Simplicity was roundly criticized for not having the repair kits ready when it announced the Simplicity and Graco crib recall on September 21.   Several members of Congress had written the CPSC demanding that Simplicity provide a remedy to the defective cribs immediately.  The CPSC said it had issued the Simplicity and Graco crib recall before the repair kits were ready because of the immediate danger posed by the hazardous cribs.  

The CPSC itself has not escaped criticism for its handling of the Simplicity and Graco crib recall.  According to the Chicago Tribune when the agency investigated the 2005 death of a 9-month-old boy in one of the defective cribs, 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 the Simplicity crib that killed him.   And according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, 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.

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