Study: Average of 26 children hurt by cribs every day
February 16th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Study: Average of 26 children hurt by cribs every day

A baby's crib is often one of the few places where parents can place their child and feel OK leaving the baby unattended. It's the focal point of most nurseries, a must-have item on many baby registries. Yet an average of 26 children suffer a crib-related injury every day, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

"The most significant findings for me was the number of injuries," said Dr. Gary A. Smith, lead author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.  "I didn't expect to see 9,500 children a year treated in emergency departments for crib-related injuries."

Smith said his team is the first to investigate how many fatal and non-fatal injuries young children suffer from cribs, bassinets, and playpens. Using data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, they found that from 1990 to 2008, there were more than 181,000 children under the age of 2 taken to emergency departments around the country for injuries related to at least one of the nursery products. Falling was the most common cause for injury and 83% of the total injuries suffered came from cribs.

"Children are top-heavy," explained Smith. "When children start to lean out over the top of a rail of a crib, they will topple forward."

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency tasked with insuring consumer products do not pose a risk to public health, has advocated for safer cribs for many years. According to the agency, more than 11 million cribs, playpens, or bassinets have been recalled since 2007 and recently the CPSC  announced a voluntary recall of approximately 500,000 bassinets. Although the study found a statistically significant decrease in the rate of crib-related injuries over the 19-year study period, both Smith and the agency say more can be done to make cribs and other sleep environments safer.

In a written statement to CNN, the CPSC wrote that it "will continue to address the issues raised by the respected authors of this study" and this year plans to "use the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and our Safe Sleep team to establish new and improved safety standards for toddler beds and bassinets and recall products that can pose a danger to children in their nursery."

Parents concerned about the safety of their child's crib can get additional information on nursery safety from the Center for Injury Research and Policy here.  A fact sheet is available here.

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