Defects Identified by CPSC Early Warning System Prompt Crib Warning to Parents; CPSC to consider rulemaking to address crib defects

October 21, 2008
Release Number: 09-018

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents and caregivers to closely inspect the hardware and stability of their cribs to ensure all parts are in place and secure. The warning by the CPSC comes after the agency’s Early Warning System has identified concerns with the durability of cribs, especially those with drop sides that can disengage and lead to dangers of entrapment and strangulation.

Since the creation of the CPSC Early Warning System in fall of 2007, the agency has conducted five crib recalls where the hardware was broken, missing or otherwise failed to function. Cribs with drop sides are the type most likely to experience hardware problems. They contain more moving parts and have more non-rigid connections than static, or non-drop side cribs. In many cases the drop side corners disengage from the tracks located on the crib ends, or safety stops become nonfunctional permitting the drop side to detach from the crib. These types of defects are often undetected by parents or caregivers and can worsen when the baby pushes or leans against the side of the crib.

“The CPSC is committed to making sure a baby’s sleep environment is as safe as possible,” said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “It is that ongoing commitment that is driving the agency to explore new crib requirements and educate the public of the dangers associated with some cribs.”

Safety Tips for all cribs:

- Parents should not use any crib with missing, broken or loose parts.

- Hardware should be inspected from time to time and tightened 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 on its track.

- Always check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement. Any disengagement can create a gap and entrap a child.

- Do not try to repair any side of the crib without manufacturer approved hardware or with tape, wire or rope.

- Putting a broken side up against the wall does not solve the problem and can often make it worse.

While the mandatory and voluntary crib standards have succeeded in preventing many deaths and injuries, the agency staff believes the performance requirements can be strengthened to deal with the problems identified by the Early Warning System. Therefore, agency staff will be recommending that the Commission vote to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed (ANPR) rulemaking to examine and assess potential design and durability issues and possible mandatory performance requirements to prevent future entrapments and strangulations to children. If approved, the ANPR will seek input and information about hardware systems, other hardware issues, assembly and instructional problems and wood quality/strength issues for cribs with both stationary and drop side construction.