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Recalled Cribs: Are they Safe?

By Melissa Frey

Well it’s official, the nesting instincts have kicked in. With a day off and nothing major on the agenda, Tim and I were super excited to set up our crib. It took a little while to get all the nuts and bolts in place, but once they were, it was beautiful.

Being that I work in news, I’ve heard all the buzz about crib recalls. So just to be sure, I thought I should check the list and sure enough ours was there, in black and white.

I also learned that nine million cribs were recalled in the past five years and 32 infants and toddlers died from crib malfunction. The main issue is with drop-side cribs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the movable side can malfunction, creating a gap where babies can become trapped and suffocate.

Once at the company’s web site, it was fairly easy to order an “immobilization kit”, a repair kit that keeps the side that drops stationary. All I had to do was enter my model number and address, and they sent it out.

Curious about what other options are out there, I set out to talk to local store owners to see what they had to say about recalled cribs.

Alice Huff is the owner of the My Little Children re-sale shop in Eugene. They see several recalled cribs every week, most are the drop-side style.

“What our process is, is when someone comes in with a crib we check it for the recall immediately,” said Huff.

About every month another manufacturer says their product is unsafe for your child. But just because it made the list, doesn’t mean it has to be thrown out.

“They call and they get the recall kit, that kit is sent to them within about a week or two, and then they get the kit and they put it together, and then its fine,” said Huff.

Not all recalled cribs are taken off the shelves, some are still available new. Fletcher’s For Kids Store Owner, Ron Fletcher, says most of their manufacturers stopped making drop side cribs about a year ago, but you can still find a few around his store, but he says they’re drastically marked down.

Ron says despite millions on the recall list, drop-side cribs are not necessarily unsafe.

“I tell people that my granddaughter sleeps in a drop side crib. So, I’m not concerned about it, but if a person is concerned, what the manufacturers are doing is offering kits that will make the drop side stationary, so it can’t possibly drop,” said Fletcher.

In addition to drop-side cribs, there are other models that provide the same convenience. Models made with a safety gate for example, is a safer way of making a drop side crib. But Ron says the most popular cribs these days are ones that can convert to toddler and full size beds.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says they’re developing a new standard to ban drop side cribs all together. They’re hoping to have new regulations in place by 2011.

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