Stork Craft Crib Blamed In DeathDec 1, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Following the massive Stork Craft Crib recall, the family of a seven-month-old baby who died earlier this year in a Stork Craft crib, has filed a lawsuit in federal court, the Advertiser is reporting.
The family alleges that their baby’s body became entrapped in the space between the Stork Craft crib’s drop-side rail and the crib’s mattress, said the Advertiser, citing the lawsuit. The baby boy—Reese Morgan—died in May, according to a family spokesperson. Family attorneys announced in a news release last week that Reese Morgan died of “mechanical asphyxia,” quoted the Advertiser. "The baby was laid down to sleep at approximately 9:30 p.m. in the evening and was found unresponsive by his mother around 8 a.m. the next morning," the release continued.
Last week, Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc. recalled 2.1 million drop side cribs—including 150,000 bearing the Fisher-Price logo—in the U.S. and Canada. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the defective Stork Craft cribs had been implicated in the suffocation deaths of four children: Reese Morgan from New Iberia, Louisiana; a six-month-old in Summersville, West Virginia; and a nine-month-old in Bronx, New York. In total, there had been 110 incidents of drop-side detachment; 67 of which occurred in the U.S. The incidents include 15 entrapments, 12 in the U.S. and three in Canada. There had also been 20 reported falls from cribs, 12 in the U.S. and eight in Canada. Fall injuries ranged from concussion to bumps and bruises, the CPSC said.
Following the massive Stork Craft crib recall, the head of the CPSC conceded that her agency has been too slow to address the issue of crib safety. In various interviews over the past week, Inez Tenenbaum also hinted that a ban on drop side cribs could be part of new mandatory crib regulations on which the CPSC is working. According to the agency, all of the Stork Craft cribs in these incidents were constructed with plastic drop-side hardware that had broken or was missing; deformed claws, connectors, tracks, or flexible tab stops; loose or missing metal spring clips; stripped screws; and/or drop-sides installed upside-down.
Stork Craft maintains its cribs are safe if used properly and has offered a free kit to consumers that converts the cribs, said the Advertiser. According to Jim Moore, chief executive at Stork Craft, the deaths associated with the massive recall took place some time ago and were—according to Stork Craft—due to improper use, reported the Associated Press (AP). According to Moore, parents simply need to install the free kit to convert the drop side to a fixed side, added the AP.
Crib recalls occur on a depressingly regular basis, especially those involving the drop side variety. 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 seriously injured and even killed after becoming entrapped in a gap between the side rail and headboard of a drop side crib.
More than five million drop side cribs have been recalled over the past two years alone, and such cribs have been connected with the deaths of a dozen young children.