Congress to introduce legislation banning drop-side cribs

Posted on May 24, 2010
Congress is set to introduce legislation this week that would ban the manufacture and sale of drop-side cribs which have led to a reported 32 infants deaths since 2000 because of malfunctioning side rails.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has already warned consumers of the problem, but fear that a warning is not enough and want to make cribs with four fixed sides mandatory. Drop-side cribs have one side that moves up and down in an effort to make placing an infant in and out of the crib easier for parents.

The CPSC has started phasing out drop-side cribs at many big box retailers like Walmart and Babies-R-Us. However, there are still many cribs for sale on the internet, which is more difficult to regulate. The new legislation would outlaw the manufacture, sale, and re-sale of drop-side cribs and would ban their use in day cares and hotels.

In the past five years, more than 7 million drop-side cribs were recalled. Overtime, screws, pegs and plastic tracking from the rail can come loose or break. Manufacturers still believe that babies are safe in drop-side cribs that have not been recalled as long as the cribs are assembled and used properly.

However, if the hardware malfunctions due to no fault of the consumer, the drop-side rail can detach partially. This creates a "V"-like gap between the mattress and the crib. A baby can get caught in between the mattress and the crib, which can lead to suffocation or strangulation.

Already, two counties in New York have banned the sale of drop-side cribs: Nassau and Suffolk County. Many believe that a nationwide ban needs to occur faster, whether from Congress or the CPSC. The current projected date is mid-2011 before a total ban would go into effect.