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Is your baby crib a death trap?

Updated on June 27, 2010

Drop-Sided Baby Crib Recalls

As a parent your children’s safety and well being is always a top priority. It is your job as parents to keep them out of danger. Countless hours are spent baby proofing, plugging electrical outlets and locking up cabinets with dangerous chemicals. What isn’t realized is that the most dangerous place for an infant can be what is usually though of as the safest for them, their cribs.


According to the U.S. Product Safety commission, there have been 9 million crib recalls in the past 5 years. All of these recalls involved the danger of entrapment, suffocation and falls. There have been 32 reported infant deaths and thousands of injuries attributed to drop-sided cribs in the past 9 years.  Some states, for example New York, have on-going legislation to ban the sale of drop-sided cribs. Others, such as New Jersey and Illinois are banning drop-sided crib sales based on the new ASTM, American Society for Testing and Materials, standards.

How safe is your baby crib?

So how can you keep your baby safe? If you are purchasing a crib for your little one, stationary sided cribs are the safest way to go. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been recalls on those as well, but in the test of time, they have performed much better than the drop-sided cribs. Research you choices. Just because a crib manufacturer prints on the outside of the box that they conform to ASTM standards, doesn’t make it so. Read the specifications of the crib and verify its compliance. Never use a crib over 10 years old. If you do use an older crib or purchased one used, the following are some things to look for.


1. Crib slats are no more than 2-3/8 inches (60 mm) apart, test preassembled cribs with a soda can, if it passes through the slats are to far apart

2. No portion of the crib, especially the slats, should be missing, cracked or loose

3. Mattress must be firm and tight-fitting with no more than two finger widths between the inside edge of the crib and the edge of the mattress

4. Mattress support should be firmly installed and must not be easily released from head/footboard. It should withstand 25lbs of pressure
5. When measured from the top of the crib head/footboard, corner posts can not be higher than 1/16th inch, this includes decorative knobs

6. Screws, bolts or hardware which secure crib components must be intact, not loose or missing

7. Crib must be free of protruding rivets, metal nuts or bolts, knobs or wing nuts, look for anything that the baby may get caught or injured on

When in doubt, don’t make the purchase. One infant death is too many. For the latest crib recall and news go to the U.S. Product Safety Commission website.


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