The new federal regulations regarding crib safety went into effect on June 28, 2011 making it illegal to sell baby cribs with drop sides. Over 30 babies have died from drop side baby cribs and countless others have been injured due to faulty hardware and weak construction. The drop sides, which made it convenient to lift the baby in and out of the crib, became a safety hazard when babies became lodged between the sliding railings and the fixed bottom portions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is in charge of enforcing the new regulations and say they have received many questions about the new rules on their website. First of all, do the new rules only apply to drop side cribs? No, the new safety standards also includes things like improvements in hardware, better construction of slats and mattress supports, and more rigorous testing to pass requirements.
Other questions relate to cribs that were purchased before June 28. If you purchased a crib (whether drop side or non-drop side) prior to these new safety standards taking effect, it is possible your crib is not compliant with new federal rules. Many crib manufacturers had already voluntarily recalled certain cribs with the most problems, though the potential exists that the particular crib you own was not recalled and still may be a safety hazard under the new regulations. While the law does not affect cribs that are already in homes, anyone owning a drop side crib or a crib purchased before June 28 will want to make sure they, at a minimum, retrofit their crib for maximum safety. Some drop side crib manufacturers have devices you can install to secure the drop sides and make them immobile. It is important to check with the crib manufacturer for any recall notices or information about the new regulations. Also, double check all hardware to make sure there are no loose pieces and all connections are secure.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends not using cribs that do not meet the new standards but understands for some families, it might be financially difficult to make a new purchase. In this case, it is important for the families to be aware of possible safety concerns and any means they can use to protect their baby. Since drop side cribs and any crib not meeting the new regulations cannot be sold in the United States, it is illegal to sell a crib at a yard sale, consignment store or even to give it away. When getting rid of these cribs, they should be disassembled and rendered unusable. However, you might still see some drop side cribs in use in day cares, hotels and hospitals. For day cares and hotels, the new rules do not take effect until December of 2012. Cribs used in hospitals are considered medical devices and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. In either case, it is important to speak with the managers to determine if the cribs in use are safe for your baby. Ask your day care how they plan to comply with the new rules and if the cribs have been retrofitted. 26 children aged two and under are rushed to the Emergency Room each day due to crib-related injuries. In one story, a twin son was found hanging from his crib with his face blue and swollen. Thankfully, the boy survived due to quick action by the parents. One of the slats had broken and the boy was hanging on the remainder of the jagged wood by his shirt. It is horror stories like this one that make crib safety of the utmost importance. Do not take for granted that the crib you have been using is safe. Do your research and homework to ensure your baby will be healthy and protected during the crib years.
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