Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are drop-side cribs becoming a thing of the past?

JPMA & Top manufacturers to possibly change crib standards eliminating the drop-side crib design.

In an article released by the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, The Tribune reports that major manufacturers signed off on a proposal that would ban drop-side cribs in the United States after repeated recalls, entrapments and deaths. While this is close to what actually took place, make sure you understand the whole picture before you go back to your retailer to return a drop-side crib you recently purchased.

Drop-side cribs have been the main stay in crib design for as far back as most people can remember. These cribs allow the user to lower one side for easy access to the child. Most of the crib manufacturers that supply the specialty stores make a very safe, sturdy and reliable product that can last for generations.

As manufacturers have been forced to keep prices low from many of the mass merchants the quality has suffered and led to poor designs and cheap products that simply don’t hold up. As a result over 6 million cribs have been recalled over the past 2 ½ years. These cribs are the inexpensive (cheap actually) cribs sold primarily at mass merchants and some online retailers.

There is not an official ban at this time. ASTM, a voluntary standards development organization, has proposed that their subcommittee charged with addressing crib issues consider revisions to the standard that could eliminate functioning drop sides from all cribs. This would reduce the possibility of faulty hardware or improper installation on the drop sides of the cribs. This would be a modification of the voluntary ASTM F1169 standard for cribs.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) states "Despite some misinformation circulating in the media, the ASTM Cribs Subcommittee has not officially accepted any proposals nor have any official actions been taken at this point to modify the standard. Rather, a proposal was submitted for discussion by members of the subcommittee to modify ASTM Standard F1169 to address the issues related to the misassembly of drop sides, missing components, and other issues that may result in failures in drop side cribs.”

There is still a lot of discussion to be had and research to be completed before any formal change to the voluntary crib safety standard. A task force needs to be formed to address the technical concerns with such a change to the standard can be made. This task force will report to the subcommittee which addresses crib issues. If accepted, the changes will need to go through the ASTM consensus process to the entire Consumer Products Subcommittee. At that point, if it makes it through all that successfully, the revised standard would then officially eliminate traditional drop side cribs.

As you can see we are a long way off of any official change to the current standard. The safest place for babies to sleep is in a crib that meets current safety standards. Like car seats, this is one are is not worth skimping on to save a few dollars. Spend a little more for a good crib from a reputable manufacturer whether it is a drop side crib or one with a lifestyle design.

Richard Goore

Goore's for Babies to Teens

1 comment:

  1. Did anyone mention that the BRU recall was for Jardine cribs that were not dropside cribs. The desire to make and sell cheaper cribs is what leads to recalls.