Are Drop Side Cribs Safe for Use?

baby in crib
Getty Images / Sally Anscombe

Drop-side cribs have definitely come under a lot of scrutinies in recent years. It seems there has been no end to the list of crib recalls, with millions of cribs being labeled as unsafe for use. Though drop side cribs are exceptionally convenient, they are plagued with many safety problems.

Drop Side Cribs: Current Legislation

In 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) unanimously voted to ban the sale and resale of these cribs and to make their use in hotels and daycares illegal.

Their website states that: as of June 28, 2011, "all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The new rules, which apply to full-size and non-full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and require more rigorous testing."

So not only are drop-side rail cribs banned, but all safety rules for cribs have been strengthened as well. 

Statistics Regarding Fatalities and Injuries

So what prompted the decision? Since 2000, at least 32 infants and toddlers were killed due to the faulty design and another 14 infant fatalities are under similar suspicion. Since 2005, Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corporation, and Pottery Barn Kids have recalled more than 9 million defective cribs alone.

What Should Be Done With Drop Side Cribs

Many parents and families already have drop side cribs in their homes and may wonder what should be done.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) encourages parents that it may not be necessary to trash their crib, but instead suggests that they investigate to see whether or not their crib has been recalled (See: How to Check on Product Recalls). Parents should check the hardware on the crib periodically to make sure the crib is working properly.

The JPMA maintains that properly assembled drop side cribs which have not been recalled can be used with confidence.

Parents who utilize day care or hotel cribs may need to be vocal about their concerns regarding cribs which they can not maintain for themselves.

How Can I Tell If The Crib For My Baby is Safe?

The CSPC notes that parents can ask crib manufacturers or daycare providers if the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219 (the new standard for full-size cribs) or 16 CFR 1220 (the new standard for non-full-size cribs). "Manufacturers are required to test samples of their cribs to the new standards and to certify that they comply with the new standards," their website states. "They must provide this certification to the retailer. You can ask the manufacturer or retailer for a copy of the certificate of compliance  that should indicate that the crib is certified to meet 16 CFR 1219 or 16 CFR 1220."