One of the main features that a crib should have is “does not accidentally kill the baby,” so Toys R Us has decided to crack down on the manufacturers of the cribs that it sells, says the Chicago Tribune.
Asserting that government and industry safety rules don’t protect children from the hazard, Toys “R” Us is dictating stricter tests and design standards that cribmakers have balked at for years. The company, which also owns Babies “R” Us, has the clout to do so because it sells so many cribs—hundreds of thousands annually.
Toys “R” Us is specifying the trees its suppliers can use, the way they attach spindles to crib railings and even the type of glue. Manufacturers that don’t follow the new rules can’t sell cribs in its stores.
The move by Toys “R” Us shows that major retailers, responding to parents’ concerns, are using their purchasing power to redefine the safety of children’s products—more quickly and more stringently than government regulators and groups that set standards for the industry.
Toys R Us says that it can speak for consumers when the government won’t.
“We saw that there were products that passed the existing standards but had problems in the real world,” Toys “R” Us chief executive Gerald Storch said. “Something needed to be done, so we did it. . . . We think that it will spread to the market as a whole.”
“Clearly a consumer is not going to say, ‘You need a slat integrity test,’ but they want to feel confident shopping for products,” said Storch, the Toys “R” Us CEO. “What we try to do is stand up for the consumer and say, ‘What would they do if they had the facts?’ ”