Drop-Side Crib Safety Leads to Ban

Solutions for Unsafe Cribs

baby in crib
Getty Images / Sally Anscombe

Due to safety concerns, drop-side cribs have been banned for sale and resale in the United States since 2011. Existing cribs must not be used in hotels, motels, public accommodations, daycare facilities, or family child care homes. While you may find drop-side cribs to be convenient to use, this ban was placed to ensure the safety of infants and children. Prior to the ban, there were recalls of millions of cribs due to dozens of fatalities.

Drop-Side Cribs Banned in 2011

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." Not only are drop-side rail cribs banned, but all safety rules for cribs were strengthened as well.

You should not purchase any drop-side crib, whether new or used. None are considered to meet safety regulations and their sale or resale is banned. Some resellers may be unaware of the regulations, such as at neighborhood sales or in online listings.

Fatalities and Injuries from Drop-Side Cribs

The CPSC staff believes drop-side cribs are more prone to mechanical failure. Even with normal use, the hardware can fail and produce a gap where a child's head can become trapped or a child can strangle in the "V" shape created.

This decision was made due to a number of injuries and fatalities. At least 32 infants and toddlers were killed between 2002 and 2010 due to the faulty design and another 14 infant fatalities are under similar suspicion. Between 2005 and 2010, Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corporation, and Pottery Barn Kids recalled more than 9 million defective cribs.

What Should Be Done With Drop-Side Cribs

Even though the ban was made many years ago, you may still have a drop-side crib in your home. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the only safe solution is installing a drop-side crib immobilizer device that will prevent the drop-side from separating from the crib. They provide a list of manufacturer contacts to find an immobilizer for your existing crib that has been evaluated and approved by the CPSC. For any other models, you should contact the manufacturer.

Even with an immobilizer, a drop-side crib does not meet the CPSC crib standards. You should not donate, resell, or give away a drop-side crib. Instead, you should disassemble it and recycle or discard the parts.

If You See Drop-Side Cribs in Use

There are places you may take your child where use a drop-side crib is not prohibited. These include private homes and churches where care is provided by volunteers and there is no fee. You may wish to discuss the safety issues with those in charge. You may wish to prompt a donation drive for cribs that meet the current safety standards.

If you note drop-side cribs in use at a day-care, hotel, or another public facility where you pay a fee, you should express your concerns to the operators that they are not following child safety regulations. The CSPC notes that parents can ask daycare providers if the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219 (the standard for full-size cribs) or 16 CFR 1220 (the standard for non-full-size cribs).

View Article Sources