Confused by the Recalls? New Safety Standards for Cribs May Make Choosing Easier

When I was pregnant, my husband and I spent a lot of time shopping for the perfect crib. Our ultimate choice: a cherry wood, fixed-side model. I can’t remember why, but we never considered getting a drop-side crib -- the kind with a side that slides down so parents can more easily reach their babies. (Most likely, I was afraid that in my sleep-deprived haze I’d forget to raise the side.) Now, with news of yet another recall of drop-side cribs, I can see that the drop-side is more than just another thing to remember, it could be potentially dangerous.

Soon, parents-to-be likely won’t even have the option of a drop side. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has proposed new mandatory standards for cribs that would ban drop-side cribs, call for stronger hardware, and prohibit the re-tightening of screws between manufacterers' durability tests. Plus, all new cribs will have to stick to stricter guidelines when it comes to strong mattress support and good quality wood.

“The standards’ new requirements are mandatory and will provide much needed protection to children from the harms and dangers associated with crib failures,” CPSC Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum said in a statement. Between November 2007 and April 2010, there were 36 known fatalities associated with structural problems of cribs.

The standards will likely be voted in place by the end of this year, and actually go into effect summer 2011. But in the meantime, how do you make sure that your crib is safe for baby?

First, check the CPSC website to make sure your model isn't part of any recalls, and be sure to follow the organization's crib safety tips. They include making sure:

  • you're using a firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • there are no missing, loose, broken, or improperly installed screws, brackets, or other hardware on the crib or mattress support
  • there are no missing or cracked crib slats, and slats aren't spaced more than 2-3/8-inches apart
  • corner posts aren’t more than 1/16 of an inch high
  • there are no cutouts in the crib’s headboard or foot board

If you're pregnant and shopping for a crib, be extra careful that the one you choose follows the above guidelines. As for drop-side models, you can cross them off your list. (This might not be difficult. Many retailers aren't even carrying them anymore.) And if someone offers a hand-me-down drop-side to you, politely say, "No thank you."

Do you think the new crib safety rules are excessive -- or long overdue? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- Recall Alert: Pottery Barn Kids Drop-Side Cribs Deemed Potentially Dangerous
- Biggest Children's Product Recalls
- Imagination Station: Creative Kids' Rooms

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