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article imageSecond-hand cribs can kill, CPSC issues warning Special

By Kim I. Hartman     May 8, 2010 in Health
CPSC blames the deaths of 32 babies on faulty drop-side crib design, poor assembly and on consumer home repair of a faulty crib that ultimately fails. Reports of 14 more infant fatalities due to entrapment in drop-side crib design necessitate new warnings
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning yesterday on hazardous and deadly drop-side baby cribs. CPSC staff have completed a comprehensive review of crib-related infant fatalities reported to the agency between January 2000 and the present.
CPSC staff is aware of 32 infant and toddler suffocation and strangulation deaths and hundreds of incidents that were caused by or related to drop-side detachments in cribs made by various manufacturers according to a press release received late last night.
Calls to organizations that sell second-hand goods including cribs across the country finds that most are not aware of any warnings and do not check the Consumer Product Safety Commission lists of recalled products before displaying them for sale to unsuspecting buyers. The market for used baby cribs is a busy one and employee's say that as fast as they can assemble a crib it is sold to another family looking to save a few dollars.
CPSC staff said that is important that these warnings are conveyed to the public. This is the time of year that yard sales and flea market business are most active and these cribs that have been recalled over the past years are now being sold second hand. They do not meet current guidelines. Many of them are in need of what seems to be slight repairs, but buying one of these used cribs and fixing it yourself puts your childs life in danger.
At Goodwill Industries of the Kanawha Valley in Charleston West Virginia there are no cribs currently in stock in the retail store. Adam, employed by Goodwill said that they are sold soon after they get them in and cleaned up, put together and ready for display. He said he did not think that anyone checks to see if there is a potential recall problem before the cribs are put on the sales floor.
CPSC have had 11 recalls involving more than 7 million drop-side cribs due to suffocation and strangulation hazards created by the drop side. CPSC staff is actively investigating several other crib manufacturers for potential drop-side hazards as part of a larger effort by the agency to rid the marketplace and homes of unsafe cribs. CPSC will continue to take aggressive action to address any risks and will keep the public informed.
When asked how you can determine if a crib you purchase second hand can be deadly to a baby, CPSC staff member said that consumers can call the hotline and request recall information and free publications that will help in making decisions before they buy a any baby cribs, new or used.
When it comes to the life of your newly born child, the CPSC suggests you purchase only from a reputable business and you can also go their web site and check on recent or past recalled products of any kind, including baby cribs.
When the drop side detaches at the bottom  a baby can fall into the resulting gap and suffocate betw...
When the drop side detaches at the bottom, a baby can fall into the resulting gap and suffocate between the mattress and the side rail
Consumer Product Safety Commission
A trip through the local flea market this morning and at yard sales throughout the community found over a dozen of these used cribs for sale. I spoke with the sellers of used drop-side cribs and they seem to be unaware of any dangers from the products that they no longer need.
Some seemed concerned when made aware of the new warnings, but they were not going to pull the cribs from their yard sales. One woman when told about the warning and asked if she was going to continue trying to sell the crib to unsuspecting buyers responded with a flipant attitude of "well if it didn't harm my child it must be safe."
The Consumer Product Safety Commission thinks differently.
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said she is committed to making change in laws and regulations to protect parents and children and that there will be a new and vastly improved mandatory federal standard for cribs this year. The standard will incorporate, at minimum, the new voluntary standard banning drop-side cribs from the United States market. Due to the new voluntary industry standard, many manufacturers have already stopped selling drop-side cribs or will do so beginning June 1, 2010.
These laws will not effect sales at second-hand stores or neighborhood yard sales and flea markets. In those situations it's Buyer Beware.
The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Charleston says that when they get a baby crib in they go over it well when cleaning it and that all original parts must be with the crib before they will sell it said Monica, a Thrift Store employee. Cribs are in high demand at this store she said and they do not remain on display for long before purchased at any of the local second-hand stores she knew of in Charleston, the capitol city. She recommended checking with all local stores before making a trip to purchase one since they do sell fast.
When asked if they check for product safety recalls on the cribs from the Consumer Product Safety Commission she replied, she did not think so but they will not sell any product that comes in without all original parts no matter how good condition it is in. They aren't in a position to replace damaged parts based on recalls or visual inspection.
A baby can strangle in the “V” shape when the top portion of the drop side detaches
A baby can strangle in the “V” shape when the top portion of the drop side detaches
Consumer Product Safety Commission
CPSC technical staff have determined drop-side cribs have a tendency to be less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed sides. Drop-side hardware is prone to break, deform or experience other problems during normal or foreseeable use. The older the crib, the more problems. When drop-side hardware breaks or deforms, the drop side can detach in one or more corners from the crib. If an infant or toddler rolls or moves into the space created by a partially detached drop side, the child can become entrapped or wedged between the crib mattress and the drop side and suffocate. Infants can also strangle in the "V" shape formed by a drop side that detaches in an upper corner.
While CPSC staff cannot say that every drop-side crib is hazardous, based on investigations of incidents we have received, the agency believes that overall most drop-side cribs are more prone to mechanical failure than similar designed fixed-side cribs. In addition, older cribs may not meet current voluntary standards. Contributing safety factors in older cribs include:
The longer a crib is used, the more wear and tear on hardware and joints, allowing screws to loosen and fall out and plastic parts to flex and break. Repeated assembly and dis-assembly increases likelihood that crib parts can be damaged or lost. Wood warps and shrinks over time and glue can become brittle. This can lead to joint and slat failures, duct tape will not safely repair any products used by a child.
CPSC reminds parents not to use any crib with missing, broken, or loose parts. Make sure to tighten hardware from time to time to keep the crib sturdy. When using a drop-side crib, parents should check to make sure the drop side or any other moving part operates smoothly. Always check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement. Disengagements can create a gap and entrap a child. In addition, do not try to repair any side of the crib. Babies have died in cribs where repairs were attempted by caregivers.
CPSC spokesman said Do not use a crib you are unsure of until you have thoroughly investigated the safety of the product. This includes baby cribs you already have in your home or plan to purchase, the life of your newborn child is at risk. Err on the side of caution..
CPSC warns home repairs to cribs like this one can be deadly.
CPSC warns home repairs to cribs like this one can be deadly.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
If you have questions or concerns about a crib you have purchased, CPSC encourages you to call them for more information. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury call the hotline (800) 638-2772.
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