Now I am not usually moved to report on every one (or even most) of the countless and ceaseless amount of children’s toy and product recalls that hang over consumer consciousness like a dark cloud. From just a cursory glance, there seem to be anywhere from two to ten significant recalls a week, due to everything from safety concerns to gratuitous lead paint, and most of these just fly under the radar and become background noise or static in the parental society of mind.
However, the latest recall/amendment to the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s (CPSC) standards concerning crib safety is significant, if not semi-revolutionary, and worth noting.
The big news last week was the CPSC was dropping their support of dropside cribs (a baby crib where one or more of the sides slides down to allow easier access to baby). The new rules, set to go into effect in 2011, essentially would ban the manufacture and sale of drop-side cribs, in addition to mandating better mattress support, sturdier hardware and better quality wood for crib construction. The troublesome, and serious, issue with these cribs is that children have often been hurt by faulty hardware of had serious entanglements with the dropside of the crib. According to CNN, Between November 2007 and April of this year, there were 36 deaths associated with crib structural problems, and just recently the CPSC announced that Pottery Barn Kids is recalling over 80,000 drop-side cribs due to entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards.
So wave bye-bye to the dropside, and give a big hello to the fixed gate crib (otherwise known as the “open-faced cage”). Does this change herald a new era of greatly improved crib safety, or does it just indicate that standards have been horribly lax for too long with the CPSC essentially asleep at the wheel? Should it really take 36 deaths (and numerous reported and unreported accidents) to get federal regulating commissions to realize something is not entirely copasetic with children’s cribs?