MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s a problem that’s faced South Florida Families for years: The safety of the cribs their infants sleep in at home, daycare centers or when they travel to their favorite motels.
Tragically, 32 infants died in so-called “Drop-Side Cribs” over the last 9 years according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency also said another 14 infants were strangled in related “crib entrapment” accidents.
But by a unanimous vote Wednesday morning in Washington, the agency enacted the toughest rules ever to ban so-called drop side cribs and make sure new models are a lot safer than the older ones.
The rule must still be published in the Federal Register, and will go into effect 6 months after the formal notice.
CPSC insiders say the ban should go into effect sometime next summer. But businesses like Motels and daycare Centers will still have 18 months to replace their cribs with new, safer models.
The ban, according to the CPSC, prohibits the manufacture of drop side cribs, and their sale on retail or online . It also establishes tough new safety standards for any need cribs.
The CPSC is also urging parents not to pass down old drop-side cribs to their family and also warns parents about their possible resale at local yard sales and flea markets. Most manufacturers stopped producing them over the summer.
The CPSC has already recalled millions of potentially dangerous cribs and portable sleepers.
It warns parents to double check the cribs and portable sleepers they may currently be using for their children to make sure they are not on the latest recall list.
The agency’s put together a “Crib Safety “ Website online with more information how parents can make sure the cribs infants are using at home, in daycare centers or on vacation, are as safe as possible.
More information for parents in a Q & A from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
If you’ve still got questions, here are a few that CPSC has received, along with answers:
Q: CPSC’s drop-side crib information makes me nervous about owning a drop-side crib, but I can’t afford a new crib. What should I do?
A: Check your crib as shown in the video. If your crib has loose sides or missing or broken pieces that you can’t easily tighten, then move your child to a different safe sleeping place. Depending on the child’s age, this can be a bassinet, a play yard or a toddler bed – so long as that product hasn’t been recalled as well.
Should I get an immobilizer for my crib, even if it hasn’t been recalled? Where do I get them?
An immobilizer stops the drop side from moving outwards as well as up and down. This prevents a baby from getting stuck between the drop side and the rest of the crib. You should get and use an immobilizer for your drop-side crib if it is available. Different cribs need different immobilizers. Contact your manufacturer to see if the company is offering or planning to offer an immobilizer for your crib.
Immobilizers should only be used on cribs that do not have broken or missing hardware. An immobilizer will not make broken cribs safe. An immobilizer will prevent future breakage and protect hardware.
In addition, immobilizers are meant to be used on newer cribs, not cribs that are older than 10 years.
The immobilizer fix kit on my recalled crib forced the drop side to become stationary. I’m short and can’t reach my baby. What can I do?
CPSC’s staff understands how difficult it can be for some moms to use a tall fixed-side crib. Some of us are short moms, too. Convenience, though, is a different question than safety. We at CPSC aim to provide you with the best information available to us to keep your baby safe.
Some manufacturers make cribs with drop-gates rather than drop sides and cribs that are lower to the ground.
If you’re short and are finding your newly fixed-side crib difficult to use, look for a safe solution to reach down to your baby. One solution could be a wide, sturdy step stool, such as the steps used in step aerobics.
I’m using a second-hand drop-side crib. Is this safe for my baby?
Age is a factor in the safety of any drop-side crib. At a minimum, CPSC staff recommends that you not use a crib that’s older than 10 years. Many older cribs may not meet current voluntary standards and can have numerous safety problems.
The more use a particular crib experiences over time, the more that crib will sustain wear and tear on hardware and joints, allowing screws to loosen and fall out and plastic parts to flex and break. Repeated assembly and disassembly increases the likelihood that crib parts can be damaged or lost. In addition, wood warps and shrinks over time, and glue can become brittle. This can lead to joint and slat failures.
Be sure to check your crib regularly and stop using it if you are at all uncertain about its safety.