After More Than 30 Infant Deaths Since 2001, CPSC, Gillibrand, Crowley, Schakowsky Announce Approval Of New Federal Rules To End Dangerous Drop-Side Cribs

Dec 15, 2010

Washington, DC – U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and a parent whose child died from a faulty crib announced today that the CPSC has approved new federal rules to end dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs.  The new federal crib standards, set to take effect in June, would stop the sale, re-sale, manufacture, and distribution of drop-side cribs and would also prohibit drop-side cribs at motels, hotels and childcare facilities. Drop side cribs have resulted in the deaths of at least 32 infants since 2001.

CPSC’s new federal standards will also make mattress supports stronger, crib hardware sturdier and compliance testing more rigorous.  This is the first time in nearly 30 years that federal crib standards have been updated.

In May 2010, Senator Gillibrand and Representative Crowley launched an effort in Congress to ban all drop-side cribs, including in daycare centers and hotels, introducing legislation in the Senate and the House.  Today’s new crib safety rules address a requirement, authored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 that calls for all major juvenile products, including cribs, to have the strongest possible mandatory safety standards. The CPSIA is a sweeping child safety law.

“Enough is enough. Time and time again, drop-side cribs have trapped and suffocated infants, destroying families across the country,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These products are deadly, and this critically needed action will prevent further senseless deaths by ensuring they never reach another home, nursery room, store, or day care center.”

“I made a promise to parents and Congress at the beginning of the year that there would be new and improved federal crib standards this year and that promise was fulfilled today,” said Chairman Tenenbaum. “After nearly 30 years, these new crib safety rules will usher in a new generation of safer cribs.  I believe that a safe crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep and our actions today will help parents have confidence in the safety of cribs they buy in the future.”  

“A crib is a place for children to be safe and dream big dreams, but for all too many families, drop-side cribs have turned into a nightmare,” said Congressman Crowley.  “That is why Senator Gillibrand, Representative Schakowsky and I have been working with Chairman Tenenbaum and the CPSC to ensure another child’s life isn’t lost to these dangerous cribs. Unsafe equipment has absolutely no place in the nursery, and today’s move by the Commission will help keep our children safe.”

“Today we celebrate an enormous step forward in crib safety that will ensure that both we – and our children – can sleep soundly and safely at night,” Congresswoman Schakowsky said. “The standards set today will finally end the unconscionable and preventable drop-side crib tragedies that have injured or killed infants and children. But today has been a long time coming. I first introduced legislation in 2001 that led to today’s rules, requiring safety standards for cribs as well as products like high chairs, bath seats, and playpens. Children’s products must be 100 percent safe; I will continue the fight to ensure this necessary standard for years to come.”

Drop-side cribs, those with at least one side that moves up and down, have proven to be fatal. Since 2001, at least 32 infants have died from drop-side cribs, including two New York infants who were suffocated – a 7-month-old from Gouverneur, NY and a 9-month-old in the Bronx. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), 14 additional infant deaths could be linked to drop-side cribs, with two fatalities in New York.

Michele Witte from Long Island, who lost her child due to a drop-side crib, joined the leaders to announce the new ban. More than a decade ago, the Witte family’s 10 month-old son Tyler was strangled between the side rail and headboard of a drop-side crib.

Cribs involved in these incidents had plastic drop-side hardware that were broken, deformed, or loose, oftentimes breaking apart and causing children to slip through the gap and risk suffocation or strangulation.

The most recent announcement of Ethan Allen, Angel Line and Victory Land Heritage Collection 3-in-1 crib recalls in October is part of the 11 million drop-side cribs that have been recalled over the past three years. Thirteen deaths have been linked to Simplicity cribs, which were recalled in September. Close to every major brand of cribs, including Graco, Generation 2 Worldwide, Dorel, Caramia, LaJobi, Stork Craft, Simplicity, and Delta Enterprise have recalled drop-side cribs in the last 18 months.  Toys “R” Us, one of the nation’s largest children’s stores, has stopped selling these defective cribs.

Other recalls in 2010 of drop-side cribs include:

June: More than 2 million recalled by Delta, Evenflo, Jardine, Child Craft, Lajobi, Million Dollar Baby, Baby Mod, Da Vinci, Simmons

May: 170,000 recalled by C&T International, Sorelle and Golden Baby

April: More than 200,000 Graco®-branded drop-side cribs recalled by LaJobi

March: 600,000 recalled by Dorel Asia after a six-month-old died from strangulation.

February: More than 500,000 recalled by Generation 2 Worldwide and “ChildESIGNS” after three infants died from suffocation over the past several years.

January: 1,000 recalled by Caramia Furniture after 18 cases of vertical slats detached from rails.