US & World

Government Moves To Ban Dangerous Cribs

After numerous crib recalls and baby deaths, the Consumer Products Safety Commission is prosposing tougher safety standards for cribs.

Parents may soon have an easier time choosing safer cribs for their babies.

Members of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted 5 to 0 in favor of tougher safety standards for cribs. The proposal needs some more work and another vote before it becomes final.

But if it does, as is expected, stores won't be able to sell designs like drop-side cribs starting early next year.

"There have been too many recalls and too many deaths," Scott Wolfson, a spokesperson at CPSC, tells Shots. Just this week, Pottery Barn recalled more than 80,000 drop-side cribs.

Faulty cribs can trap babies and suffocate them. Models with drop-sides, though awfully convenient for parents, can cause trouble when the sides jump the tracks and bend outward. Thirty-six babies have died from design problems with cribs between November 2007 and April 2010, according to the CPSC.

The proposal also calls for better mattress support and higher-quality wood, and would require manufacturers to conduct crib safety tests without re-tightening screws in between tests.

Manufacturers will have to toss out cribs that don't meet requirements. But retailers, including thrift stores, and daycare centers, hotels, other places that use cribs will also be affected.

CPSC Commissioner Anne M. Northup expressed concern that people won't be able to switch to new cribs before the rules go into effect. If day care centers can't afford to invest in new cribs, they might put babies on floor mats, which might actually be "less-safe sleep environments," she wrote in a recent statement online.

Until more stringent rules go into effect, parents will have to watch out for unsafe cribs on their own. The CPSC says that parents with drop-side cribs should stop using the drop-side function altogether, even if the crib hasn't been recalled. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit