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June 28th, 2011
04:26 PM ET

Dangerous drop side cribs no longer for sale

Cribs are supposed to be the safest place in the house for a parent to leave a baby unattended and any new parent shopping for a new crib should now feel a little more confident that their child will indeed be safe.  Beginning Tuesday, companies that manufacture or sell baby cribs in the United States have to comply with the latest safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The standards will no longer allow the manufacture and sale of so-called drop side cribs, where one side or both sides of the crib can be lowered to provide easier access to a baby.

"[The] detaching drop side rails have been associated with at least 32 infant deaths since 2000," says Yvonne T. Maddox, of the National Institutes of Health. "Gaps may form between the crib mattress and the drop side rails, due to errors in assembly or installation or to wear or malfunction from use," she explains. As a result a baby’s head could get caught between the mattress and the side rails, leading to suffocation, or the baby could fall out of the crib.

The CPSC says there have been a reported 3,520 incidents and injuries, including infants falling from cribs, skull fractures and babies getting their limbs caught between the crib slats from November 1, 2007 to April 11, 2010.

CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis says the new safety standards also require manufactures to provide stronger hardware, like bolts and screws so the entire crib is better secured; crib slats need to be stronger, so babies can’t accidentally kick them out and the mattress supports to avoid any possible gaps which again could trap a baby or cause the infant to fall out of the crib.

Since 2007, 11 million cribs have been recalled, mostly because of the risk linked to the drop side feature, says Davis.

"All of these improvements will bring about a new generation of safer cribs to consumers and America's children," said CPSC chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, in a statement.

The CPSC approved the new rules in December 2010, noting that federal mandatory guidelines on crib safety had not been changed in nearly 30 years. Davis says cribs manufactured according to the new guidelines will make them the safest to date.

While retail stores and second-hand shops may not longer sell these drop side cribs, hotels and daycare centers have another 18 months – until December 28, 2012 – to get rid of the old cribs and buy new, safer models.

It’s not illegal to have a drop side crib in your home, but Davis says the CPSC is appealing to consumers to not sell or give away their old cribs because they are “dangerous products that can kill” a baby.

She says the recommendation is to throw these cribs in the trash. If, however, a family cannot afford to throw out their drop side crib, they are urged to use an immobilization device that is attached on both sides of the drop side. It keeps the drop side of the crib from moving up and down, says Davis, thus reducing the risk.

Once parents have found the safest crib for their baby, there's more they need to do to prevent their little one from suffocating.   Aside from a sheet on top of the mattress, cribs should be empty when the baby is laying in it.  That means no pillows, blankets, billowy bumpers that protect the baby from hitting itself on the slats –  of these things could possibly suffocate a child if it were to roll over and bury its face in it.

Parents can find more information on how to keep your child safe in their crib, by checking out the CSPC Crib Information Center, the SIDS factsheet from the NIH and the Consumer Reports Crib Safety Tips.

CNN's Miriam Falco contributed to this report


soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Dan

    32 deaths out of tens of millions since 2000? Maybe this has more to do with people who should not be breeding

    June 28, 2011 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • katelyn

      What a terrible thing to say. Have you read the details of each of those babies' deaths? I read about many of them and it was certainly not the fault of the parents. My heart goes out to anyone whose baby died in one of these cribs. They certainly should not be blamed for it. How insensitive and just plain ignorant of you, Dan.

      June 28, 2011 at 22:01 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Dan, you are a moron.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Dan, I don't think that statement is fair. That's quite a leap to make to imply that all of these deaths were a result of "incompetent" parents. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But you don't know that, and neither do I. What we do know is that there are 32 babies who'll never grow up. And if a better designed product could've saved just one of them, then it's worth it.
      Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of these people who thinks that the Gov't should legislate things like this to the nth degree. I think people should ultimately be responsible for themselves and their children. But, if you're going to manufacture a product for use by the masses, especially if that product is designed for use by very small children, you'd better make da-n sure it's safe. Shoddy materials, poor assembly instructions, etc are just asking for trouble.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Dan, the 32 deaths is only one of the statistics. The other is the "3,520 incidents and injuries" associated with this crib. Combined, one can reason a change in the crib design is warranted.

      However, being a jerk about it is certainly not warranted.

      August 8, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      This is ridiculous. At this rate, we should ban heavy TVs, which cause about 100 deaths a year when they fall on small children. (Far more than the 32 deaths over 10 years we're so 'alarmed' about here.) Or, better yet, lets reduce the maximum speed on highways where tens of thousands of people die each year. Instead, some federal bureaucrat decides that they know better than the rest of us, and they're forcing us to throw away billions of dollars worth of cribs.

      January 9, 2014 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  2. mitchyb

    Lets face it-all the "bad" cribs were made, guess where-in non other than the country responsible for all the crap products in the world-CHINA! This is the country that has absolutely no regard for human life. They continually produce food produts that poison, mame, blind children and adults all to see if they can get away with it. These practices are wholly supported and encouraged by the Chinese government and they continue to set new standards in poor manufacturing techniques that ensure their products can only be used one time if that much. Garbage products from a garbage country!!

    June 28, 2011 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LOL

      Could that be because 98% of everything comes from China?

      June 29, 2011 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      You need to differentiate manufacturing vs design. But perhaps you are too ignorant to know the difference. Also, do you go out of your way to buy American? Who makes the athletic shoes that you wear? Are you willing to pay a premium for a USA made shoe? (new balance makes some of their shoes in the US, but I think they all start at $79).

      August 8, 2011 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
  3. katelyn

    Dan: What a terrible thing to say. Have you read the details of each of those babies' deaths? I read about many of them and it was certainly not the fault of the parents. My heart goes out to anyone whose baby died in one of these cribs. They certainly should not be blamed for it. How insensitive and just plain ignorant of you, Dan.

    June 28, 2011 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lary

      Yes I used one for my second and third child its a space saver. for my first child we buohgt a crib spent hundreds of dollars and he used it like 5 times I gave it away brand new. good luck!

      April 14, 2012 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  4. emerald

    the quality of stuff has just been goin downhill and i have a 1 year old son that i was able to buy a nice crib for,the thing is now is that all of these new cribs are not affordable for lesser income familys,so maybe the goverment needs to have some kind of charity for them to afford their babies a crib now,just sayin they could still make the dropside crib,just stop makin it so cheap and crappy that all these poor babies have to pay for everyones stupidy!

    June 29, 2011 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan

      Amen!! On the part that baby cribs are NOT affordable! First time Grandparents here searching for a crib and we are blown away at the prices, don't say they are worth the price for the child, sure, money is nothing compared to a childs life, but with the prices they want for these cribs these days is absolutely absurd!!! I'll have to buy a used, good crib, it's terrible the prices, we can afford a $500.00 crib but that is just crazy to do for the short time they will use it.

      The Gov't should NOT be in child care, these companies should feel guilty to the price they charge.

      October 12, 2013 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
  5. Name Anthony

    The only thing that needs to be said is. That its about time they do something about it. When you manufacture crap and think about a dollar sign people will alway get hurt

    June 29, 2011 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doreamon

      Not surprised. Simplicity has the Most On Any rleclas crib-EVER. This infuriates me. Why?? My mom bought us a crib. She Believed Every baby needs a crib. My husband put it together A Few months ago, she is 21 months old. He Was planning to use it for her naps. She sleeps with us. Anyway, When It Was together, we Discovered a huge gap in the crib mattress-Several inches on Each side. I called the company and They told me to use a 2 4 to block up the sides. The mattress Was a standard size mattress, no reason for the gaps. I Took pictures and emailed themto the company. That crib is a convertible crib and we Planned to use it as a big girl bed When Our Baby Was ready. It's as kindling to Concerned as I am. It is sitting in a heap in Our garage. It will stay there. I did not expect money back We'd Had it for over a year before we set it up. I DID expect Them to take the crib or to offer a solution-Perhaps a trade. Nope. I will never suggest this company to a crib by ANY parent. Edit: while this recall is old, it's still good to see it and the dangers from These cribs. This company does not Have a baby's best interest at heart.

      April 8, 2012 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
  6. James

    It's a shame that they are doing away with the drop down sides. There are going to be millions of parents with pulled back muscles....

    June 29, 2011 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robin

      hmmm pulled back muscle or dead kid.

      October 3, 2013 at 00:50 | Report abuse |
  7. Name

    Really the product was flawed by the cheap materials used...drop side cribs have been used a long time and if manufactured with good quality materials then all you had to worry about when the kid could climb over because they were too big for the crib...such a shame!

    June 29, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lydia

    Have manufacturing standards become so slipshod that we can no longer make dependable products?

    Or are we as a society are just looking at others for who is at fault?

    My heart goes out to all those parents who lost their loved ones to a product malfunction.

    What the article doesn't say is how many cribs have been sold in the same period? There is no 100% fool proof method to safeguard your child. Accidents happen and some with tragic results.

    Both my sons had drop side cribs but both cribs were well made. Until corporate management stops outsourcing the manufacturing of the cribs to the lowest bidder, perhaps this will change.

    You can have the best design but if the materials used are flimsy or inferior, more deaths are likely to happen.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AmethystAngel

      They use more "environmentally sustainable" materials that recycle better. They get more money and recognition for being PC when, in fact, REAL wood and solid metal won't be trashed as quickly and can be re-used with confidence. It may not be all in the construction. It's the construction and cheap materials. They are trying to fix what they broke because they broke what didn't need to be fixed 20, 40, 50 years ago.

      June 30, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • Beverly

      I am going to be a grandmother soon and have just found out the drop side cribs are now outlawed. My three sons all had drop side cribs and I found it very helpful to get them in and out of the crib. How can a mother lift a baby out of the crib without a stool to reach them if they are short like me? The manufacturer should be held to a higher standard and we could still have a crib style that was used for centuries. I agree that there will be many muscle problems associated with this new Government requirement. I am also very sorry for the deaths and injuries the defective cribs caused but not all drop side cribs are a problem.

      January 28, 2013 at 21:13 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      I agree Beverly. I am 4'10. It is heck to get my son out of the crib. I have to stand on the side an roll him to the front. Which if he is crying, only agitates him more. I won't use a stool because at 4am , I don't trust myself to slip and fall. Ugh. I completely agree something needed to be done, but It is still very frustrating.

      May 13, 2013 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
  9. Sandie

    If they are going to make it illegal to sell your old cribs, then they need to make cribs a lot cheaper so that all americans can buy this "safest" place for a baby item! Also, if they would have better manufacturing methods for drop sides, we could still have a drop side. Unfortunately, I'm very short (5 ft)...I can't reach into most cribs that are not drop side without getting a step stool...so now, when I have children I'm going to have to climb on a step stool to get my child out, thats not dangerous at all. I know there are some other options availble, but I've looked at those and they are extremely expensive!!!!!

    June 29, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. AmethystAngel

    I work in retail in a small quality specialist role. I expedite the removal of products at the direction of the "higher-ups". I, as a consumer and worker, have seen the quality of materials diminish. Wood is not pure wood and not solid, the gauge of metal is thinner and thinner, all in the name of environmental sustainability. I paid good money 21 years ago for a solid wood, "made in America" crib and changing table and used it for 2 children for a total of 4 years. We had no problems. We used bumper cushions and placed our babies on their stomachs just in case they spit up (they wouldn't choke as quickly as if they were on their back). I didn't place the crib or bed under windows with blinds with strings. (My mother would have cracked my fingers real good if I even reached for dangling strings (I'm 48 now). My parents parented and didn't depend on the govt to do it. I am disgusted with constant govt intervention. The Nanny State ain't for me and mine. I could go on but I'll let you add to it.

    June 30, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Uniquee

      I was happy to find this option lnnioe. My daughter has inherited a mini crib from my family, but the mattress? came with it? too thin (1 inch). The Colgate Mattress assemble the crib like a glove and has enough to pat my baby. I also bought the waterproof quilted mattress pad crib mattress holder for additional support. Its nice and compact for those parents who want practicality?. This? my third child, so the need? I am what I am investing in, bens? so things are born from? fast!

      April 8, 2012 at 22:12 | Report abuse |
    • Beverly

      I placed my children all on their stomachs also and that was as instructed at the time so they would not choke if they threw up.My first was a premie and threw up often even after he burped. He would have choked if placed on his back. He is 40 now and made it just fine with the bumper in the crib as well. I would buy a drop side crib and make sure it was properly put together and made of quality materials if they were still available. I agreee with the fact that standing on a stool to take the baby out of the cirb is not safe. I am 5"" so how am I supposed to take them out without one?

      January 28, 2013 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
  11. AmethystAngel

    It's all about the money. Cheap is as cheap does. To eat "organic" costs more; to furnish better costs more. So feed the people cheaper, "convenient" food, they get sick, they get assembly line health-care and the gov't gets to give money to pharmaceuticals and research companies. Make cheaper furniture, cars, toasters, etc., ad nauseum, and require citizens to spend more to maintain or replace and promote tax breaks to out-source manufacturing......and what do you end up with??? Fat people who drive plastic cars and put kids in cribs that collapse, next to windows with dangling strings, and use toasters and coffee makers that blow up.......UGH!!! I'm going to stop posting. I get too angry. And yes, I am conservative.

    June 30, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dwight

      You hit the nail on the head with your posts!!!! I could not have said it any better! Just wish more people would take responsibility for their own lives rather than depend on the government to give them what they didn't earn or deserve!!!!

      September 4, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  12. hugo

    Keep posting good quality articles like this one! I will be back here..

    July 2, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. vinda goodman

    The mandatory laws regarding drop side cribs are ludicrous, just another government intrusion in our lives. Since 2000, only 32 deaths and of those what were the factors involved? Which caregiver had the wrong sized mattress, was not closely watching the infant/toddler, etc. I have had a drop side crib for 35 years, raised my two children, my sister then raised her two children, my friends and family have utilized this same crib, and now my four grandchildren, and not one problem. The bars on my crib are narrowly spaced, the crib mattress is so tight that you can hardly put the mattress sheets on, therefore nothing is wrong with my crib. However, now because of the government regulations, this crib along with millions of other will have to add to the landfills in our country. Why should everybody have to be penalized because some caregivers did not use their drop side cribs properly. What is the percentage of births to deaths ratio from this problem? Abortion kills millions of babies every year, yet the government sanctions this action, talk about crazy! Our government makes no sense, then we wonder why our nation is having sooooo many disastrous scenarios occurring.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Juleigh

      What abortion has to do with this, I have no clue. Abortions do more than "kill babies" as you put. Abortions also save the lives of mothers in certain cases. Our government is doing its best to actually try and outlaw abortions AND birth control, just so you know. Abortions save some from being unwanted and unloved as countless others go through daily, yearly, what have you. Don't be one of the people trying to take away the rights of others. You wouldn't like your rights to be taken away without your consent.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
    • Beverly

      Amen Vinda!

      January 28, 2013 at 21:33 | Report abuse |
  14. DeeDee

    Vinda goodman, when your crib was made, 35 years ago, products were still being made how they were supposed to be, and not using cheap shoddy materials and labor. When I was a kid we had drop side cribs that were used (safely) for all of the 9 kids in my family and various grandkids, but I would not use any of the ones made for the last 10-15 years. Quality of all consumer goods has gone way down.

    September 9, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Shirley

    So, what am I to do with my daughters EXCELLENT condition 3 in 1 drop-down crib? It's only 3 years old and I can't use it anymore nor sale it? This is ridiculous.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Chris Schreiber

    I have to agree with Dan here people. Sounds like more government intervention- over a sorry to say it, measly 32 infant deaths.More babies die being left in cars, what is the US going to do about that?? Ban cars? I agree 1 death is one too many but who is to say these non drop side cribs is going to help? Has there been research done on non drop versus drop cribs. And what about parent injuries? Picking up there fat little bundles of joy in a really awkward position (so much for bend at the knees when lifting). I guess Obama-care can pay for all the back injuries....US, let people live their own lives, we don't need you telling us what to buy!

    March 25, 2012 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Igor

    i used to let me son sleep with me when it was too hot to be in his crib ( he was 3 months also) so what i did was i put ploilws on each sides and on the top. ill be sleeping by his side so just in case i put my arm by him so if i feel movement i can feel it. hope i helped good luck!

    April 9, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jenn

    Shirley- look for the label on the crib of the manufacturer and contact them regarding the recalls. I just found out that many of them will offer (for free) a replacement panel that switches the drop side to stationary. so whether you plan on usinig the crib again or selling it this should solve the issue. I just contacted the maker of our crib for replacement parts. Also, if they are unable to provide you with the parts you need some companies are offering $ credit towards a new crib. Hope this helps.

    August 25, 2012 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kara

    Before you decide to use that old drop side crib, read this first:

    http://tinyangelaiden.blogspot.com/2012/09/so-you-like-your-dropside-crib-read-this.html

    September 27, 2012 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jim

    This is scary to think about. It is sad to see how crappy designs (and probably cheaper) manufacturing can do so much damage.

    October 4, 2012 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. judy

    i used a dropside crib for my first grandchild shes over 4 years , now i need one for my 7 mo. old granddaughter , any recommendations? safe & sturdy ?

    November 10, 2012 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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    January 9, 2013 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Keith

    We bought a dropside crip for our first child and have had it for 16 years now with five children. I observed about 8 years in that several parts we starting to break so I modified the attachments to go through the boards instead of part way in. After that it was sturdy to make it through our last two kids. I don't think they design things to last longer than the warranty, a year to three years. Anything longer nowadays seems to be a bonus. It's sad that we have to modify what we buy or buy new things to replace the cheaply made items. In the old days things were made to last instead of designers trying to find cheaper and cheaper ways to build things to give more money to the company. The trick is to find the companies that have their designers find better and better ways to make quality products.

    June 9, 2013 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Bob

    What are the smaller parents who have trouble lifting their baby up over the top rail to do? My wife struggles with this as she has had shoulder surgery and needs help when lifting anything somewhat heavy. There is no problem when I am around but I am not always home. We understand the safety issue but we are stuck in the middle.

    June 26, 2014 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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  26. Jim

    If drop side cribs are so dangerous then why are they still used in hospitals i know this to be a fact because my grandson has had several surgery's since he was born and the hospital he was in used metal drop side cribs and it is a nationaly known hospital

    July 14, 2014 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply

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