After more than 30 child deaths, illegal drop-side cribs continue to be sold on website

Aug 17, 2011

Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) called on Craigslist to take steps to prohibit the sale of dangerous and illegal drop-side cribs on the website and quickly remove future listings of these products. Crowley, along with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), led efforts in Congress to ban all drop-side cribs, which are a proven hazard to children. In December, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved new federal rules to stop the sale, re-sale, manufacture, and distribution of drop-side cribs, as well as prohibit drop-side cribs at motels, hotels and childcare facilities. Despite these regulations, Craigslist continues to display listings for dangerous drop-side cribs without any warnings for parents and consumers that the furniture is illegal. 

“A parent has the right to feel safe when they purchase something as essential as a crib, and they should be able to trust that the site they use for this purchase does not allow or encourage illegal items to be sold. It is unacceptable that Craigslist is willing to allow these dangerous products to be sold without making an effort either to prevent the listing and sale, or to inform consumers that the product they are purchasing is illegal,” wrote Crowley in a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster.

Drop-side cribs have been responsible for at least 32 infant and toddler deaths since 2001, including that of a 9-month-old in the Bronx. In May 2010, Rep. Crowley and Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation to ban all drop-side cribs, including the use of such cribs in childcare centers and hotels. This ban was incorporated in the CPSC’s final crib safety rules.

The full text of the letter to the CEO of Craigslist is below:  

August 17, 2011

Mr. Jim Buckmaster
Chief Executive Officer
Craigslist
1381 9th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122

Dear Mr. Buckmaster:

I am concerned by reports indicating that used cribs not in compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) stringent new crib safety rules continue to be illegally sold on your website. I strongly urge you to immediately ban the sale and/or resale of these cribs on your website and ensure that future listings of these products are removed promptly.

In December 2010, the CPSC approved new mandatory crib safety standards, which include a prohibition on the manufacture and sale of dangerous drop-side cribs following the deaths of 32 children from these cribs. Once these standards went into effect in June 2011, it is now illegal to sell, resell or “otherwise place in the stream of commerce” a crib that is not in compliance with these CPSC standards.

Despite the clear regulation, Craigslist continues to put the safety of children at risk. People who turn to your site to purchase furniture find no indication that many of the cribs for sale are not only dangerous, but also illegal. In fact, when looking to purchase a crib, a consumer on the site would encounter no warning or even a link to prohibited and recalled items, unlike the links made available to sellers when posting a new advertisement.

A parent has the right to feel safe when they purchase something as essential as a crib, and they should be able to trust that the site they use for this purchase does not allow or encourage illegal items to be sold. It is unacceptable that Craigslist is willing to allow these dangerous products to be sold without making an effort either to prevent the listing and sale, or to inform consumers that the product they are purchasing is illegal.

I urge you to follow the law that was designed to protect consumers and their families and stop allowing banned cribs to be sold on your site. Together, we can ensure that a baby’s sweet dreams don’t turn into a nightmare as a result of an unsafe crib.

Sincerely,

Joseph Crowley
Member of Congress