Drop-side cribs have been banned under new federal safety regulations announced Wednesday (December 15, 2010) by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Some are calling it the end of an era, given the drop-side crib's huge and decades-long popularity, but others are calling the ban long overdue. In the last nine years, defective cribs have been blamed for the deaths of at least 32 children, and millions of cribs have been recalled during that time -- with many of those recalls involving defects in the drop-side mechanism of different cribs.
The ban applies to the sale, manufacture, and re-selling of any drop-side crib. Service businesses that use or offer cribs (such as day care centers and hotels) will have one year to comply with the ban, by replacing any drop-side cribs with safe and CPSC-approved fixed-side models.
The CPSC recently described the dangers of drop-side cribs this way: "When drop-side hardware breaks or deforms, the drop side can detach in one or more corners from the crib. If an infant or toddler rolls or moves into the space created by a partially detached drop side, the child can become entrapped or wedged between the crib mattress and the drop side and suffocate. Infants can also strangle in the "V" shape formed by a drop side that detaches in an upper corner."
To learn more about crib safety standards, recent recalls, and how to make sure that your child's crib is safe, check out Nolo's recent article Crib Recalls, Safety, and Litigation.
For parents and caregivers who want to ensure that cribs and other baby furniture are up to safety standards -- and not subject to any recent recalls -- the CPSC has set up a special online Crib Information Center at www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs.