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After more than 30 infant and toddler deaths over the past decade, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has finally said "enough" to the production of drop-side cribs. The CPSC outlawd drop-side cribs this past Wednesday. There have also been millions of the cribs recalled over the past dozen years.

The CPSC voted unanimously to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of the cribs that have a side that moves up and down to allow moving the baby in and out of the crib more easily. Unfortunately, this convenience for parents also can present lethal hazards for the small children. Cheap plastics, manlfunctioning hardware, or assembly problems may allow the sliding side to become partially detached creating a "V-shaped" opening allowing an infant to become entrapped leading to suffocation or strangulation.

This new law also will apply to hotels and childcare and daycare centers and allows for the latter to replace existing cribs within 2 years. If you happen to stay in a hotel, or use a childcare center for your infant or toddler, you should determine whether or not the facility uses dropside cribs. If so, you may want to take appropriate action.

Drop-side cribs have been blamed for more than 32 infant and toddler deaths since 2000, and are suspected in another 14 such deaths. Additionally, ove 9,000,000 drop-side cribs have been recalled in the past 5 years, including from retailers such as Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp., and Pottery Barn Kids. Many crib makers began phasing out these cribs last year.

The new standards for cribs calls for more stringent safety testing, including more closely resembling the stresses put on a crib by an infant or toddler, such as mimicking the moving, pushing, shoving, etc. of the crib’s sides. The standards will also require better labeling, to help parents more safely assemble the cribs, which has been a source of some of the problems.

Many parents still have these cribs in their homes. This writer actually has one of these cribs, and now, instead of re-selling it at a yard sale, will take it to the landfill. A properly assembled drop-side crib that was NOT recalled, however, can be safely used according to the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association.

It is too bad it took at least 32 deaths for such a ban on these cribs to occur. It seems as if the manufacturers would have phased out the cribs sooner, given the complaints against them. Certainly, for those calling for less government in today’s climate, they cannot blame the government for this problem; for those, however, that believe that part of our tax dollar should go to protecting our citizens, perhaps the federal government (past administrations) should have acted much sooner.

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