CPSC Votes To Ban Drop-Side Cribs, Pottery Barn Recalls 82,000 Of Them

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that due to 153 deaths in the last four years, they have voted (5-0) to ban drop-side cribs.

From a statement by CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum:

The CPSIA requires the new mandatory rule to apply broadly and retroactively. Indeed, once the rule becomes effective, no crib may be manufactured, distributed in commerce, resold, leased, sublet, offered, or provided for use that is not in compliance with the mandatory standard. This standard, therefore, will impact entire industries, from manufacturers to retailers, and from distributers to resellers and thrift stores.

Also impacted will be businesses and service providers that either use or make cribs available to
patrons, such as commercial and home child care facilities, hotels, and other places of public
accommodation. I realize that the impact on some smaller entities may be great; however, Congress spoke clearly, and in a way that ensures children’s safety through comprehensive and swift action.

Meanwhile, Pottery Barn recalled 82,000 drop-side cribs that can detach when hardware breaks, creating a space into which a young child can become entrapped, which can lead to suffocation.

The recall involves all Pottery Barn Kids drop-side cribs regardless of the model number.

Pottery Barn Kids Recalls to Repair Drop-Side Cribs Due to Entrapment, Suffocation and Fall Hazards [CPSC]
CPSC Proposes New Rules for Full-Size and Non-Full-Size Cribs [CPSC]

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  1. LaziestManOnMars says:

    Instead of recalling all these cribs, wouldn’t it have been possible to mail out some type of fix? Like a set of brackets or something that keeps the side of the crib static-permenently? You could even contract local repair places to come out to do it properly…

    I guess it’s just cheaper… seems like a huge waste of resources…

    • Ominous Gamer says:

      Where are you reading everyone has to send back their cribs? The Pottery barn link even states its a solution is a ” free fixed-gate conversion kit”, same as the million drop side cribs a few weeks ago.

    • bnelson333 says:

      Most of them are sending free fix kits to permanently close the drop side. But a lot of stores are taking them back for store credit too.

      We don’t need ours anymore so we’re taking it back. Feels a little wrong to “rent” it for 4 years and get my full cost back, but they also made it impossible for me to sell outright (illegal to sell a recalled product). I’m stuck, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

    • AgamemnonV1 says:

      Compared to the money they would lose in a lawsuit, a recall is probably the smarter choice money-wise.

  2. VA_White says:

    I really don’t think the problem is because the sides drop. I think the problem is due to companies replacing old sturdy steel hardware with plastic crap that breaks or wears out prematurely. We never heard of this problem fifteen years ago when the slides and hardware for cribs were all made from metal parts. It’s relentless cost-cutting that’s made these companies build dangerous cribs.

    • JamieSueAustin says:

      I have noticed quite a bit more plastic garbage parts in ALL products. Everything is so disposable now, it’s kind of sad.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      This! But its the consumers constantly demanding lower prices that is driving this. So they say.

      • VA_White says:

        I had my kids eight years apart and I noticed in that short time the big difference in parts. I was going to buy a new crib but all the parts were plastic – even the clips that held the mattress in place were plastic. No way. We ordered replacement parts for the old crib and used that for the new baby.

        • Madaline_7 says:

          I noticed it too, mine is a 10 year difference though. Right now, my infant is sleeping in a port-a-crib while I am waiting for the the fix kit for her crib. I told my husband as he was putting it together, this looks like a piece of junk.

          Sad thing is, the two cribs were almost identical in price.

      • Jevia says:

        How many consumers are really “demanding” lower prices just because they can or really can’t afford ever increasing prices because their wages aren’t going up, but other bills are?

    • Vanilla5 says:

      I definitely think it has something to do with the plastic pieces. My godson, who is 5 now, had a drop-side crib and the side that dropped definitely had an issue with one of the plastic pieces that was supposed to hold the side in place. It broke and we couldn’t get it to move up and down properly (it would go up and not down and vice versa, depending on how it felt at the time).

      There was no way she could afford another crib so before he was able to roll over or sit up, I basically glued that sucker tight so that it wouldn’t go up OR down and we turned the original drop-side toward the wall. Sure, the other side didn’t move but his mother’s extremely tall (about 5’10.5″ barefoot) so it wasn’t an issue for her. Threw the crib out after he was too tall/climbing out of it … which was at about 13 months.

    • wee_willie says:

      I agree. My grandchildren use/used the bed my parents bought for me 52 years ago. The slats are close together, mattresses fit very snugly into the bed, and the rails have never dropped unexpectedly. I expect to use it (God willing) for my great-grandchildren when they come to visit. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  3. pantheonoutcast says:

    I can’t trust an organization that uses three variations of the word “impact” in the same two-paragraph press release. No one over at CPSC owns a thesaurus?

  4. lihtox says:

    When do we start outlawing cars? I’ll bet automobile accidents killed a lot more than 153 kids during the past four years.

    This seems like a hysterical overreaction to me.

    • AngryK9 says:

      There were 34,017 fatal automobile crashes in 2008 in the US, according to NHTSA.

      http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

    • Kman says:

      I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. In a car, you are traveling at a high rate of speed and there is obviously some risk there. Generally, car accidents are caused by some sort of human error, not manufacturing defects in the car. A more fair comparison would probably be number of deaths caused by accidents where the cause of the accident was a manufacturing defect in the car versus deaths caused by drop side cribs. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I don’t think 153 people died due to the Toyota accelerator problem in the past 4 years.

      Zero babies should die due to manufacturing defects in a crib, they’re just laying there sleeping. In these cases, had the baby been asleep on the floor, they wouldn’t have died. It is possible to engineer and build a safe drop side crib. But too many of the manufacturers failed in an effort to cut costs by using cheap parts that cause the drop side of the crib to come loose.

    • lawnmowerdeth says:

      At least they didn’t ban 5 gallon buckets. Only 67 deaths over 3 years. Not enough for outrage!

      http://www.faqs.org/abstracts/Health/Accidental-toddler-drowning-in-5-gallon-buckets-Child-drownings-and-near-drownings-associated-with-s.html

    • AgamemnonV1 says:

      As it has been stated numerous times before, one dead baby is worse than a hundred dead adults. A defendant has never won a case involving the death of a child. Ever. There’s no way you can win a jury on that.

    • Mr. Pottersquash says:

      its not just a question of the harm caused but the benefit gain. Dead babies versus…Exactly what is the benefit of a drop-side crib? Does that benefit outweigh the harm? for cars yes, buckets yes, this? no.

      i wonder who patented this, to see their invention deemed unsafe

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      As a baby, you’ll use your crib every day for maybe a few years. As an adult, I use my car every day for 50 years. I have exposed myself to this danger at least 15 times more in my lifetime than to a dangerous crib.

      Further, part of the danger of cars is other people. A baby has no chance of being injured by another baby in a different crib, but when I drive the statistical probability that I will hit another car is multiplied by the statistical probability the other 1,000 cars I pass by will hit me.

      I am completely against an outright ban, but I’d like to point out that comparing vehicular deaths is in no way comparable to infant drop-crib deaths.

  5. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Sigh. Well, hopefully someone will come up with a safe crib with some form of convenient access for us short people.

    • AngryK9 says:

      Instead of having sides that raise and lower, have legs on the crib that can be raised or lowered.

    • NumberSix says:

      I guess you’d have to cut the legs shorter.

      Any luck fixing your current crib?

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        Nope, but it’s got sturdy metal fittings, so we’re just inspecting frequently and sticking with the drop side for now.

    • kenj0418 says:

      Option 1 – Short people should only mate with tall people. You’ll have someone to access the crib for you and eventually, over several generations we can move away from those short genes.
      Option 2 – Step ladder

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        I totally did option 1! I’m 5’2″ … my husband is 6’4″!!!

        I told him I didn’t date under 5’10″, specifically so my future children would not suffer lack of access to the high cabinets their entire lives.

    • Groanan says:

      There is no reason why a plastic tub, the kind you buy from Target, can’t be lined with blankets and used as a crib.

      Make your own cribs at home and save money / your child’s life!

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        The problem wasn’t when he was small enough for a basket (the mattress was nice and high up then!); the problem is now that he can stand up in his crib but is too little to be allowed to sleep in a regular bed. I can’t reach far enough down to get him UNLESS he stands up, and having the mattress any higher in the crib isn’t safe. He can easily get in and out of a laundry basket and he’d tip himself over in no time flat.

        Mostly it’s not a big deal, he stands up so I can pick him up, but we had a tornado we had to make the run for the basement during, and he was deeply asleep and I didn’t have time to fuck around. I couldn’t reach him, and I was very grateful the side dropped. Otherwise I would have had to tip over the crib, I guess.

        A stepstool is not as helpful as one would hope, since I am short on my top half. Putting my bottom half up higher doesn’t make my top half longer! It just puts my waistline higher up!

        • mythago says:

          Sidecar crib against the mattress?

          • veritybrown says:

            Frankly, the design of those things scares me. If you’re going to have the baby in bed with you, it’s better to have the baby actually in the bed, instead of off to the side, where a failure in the connection system could cause fatal entrapment, while the parents sleep blissfully on, thinking the kid is safe in the sidecar. Obviously, having the baby in bed with you can be dangerous if you sleep too deeply to notice if the baby is distressed by anything. But mom keeping baby beside her while they sleep seems to have worked pretty well for the human race for a million years or so.

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            We had a sidecar until he was four months old and outgrew it … my objection to a sidecar these days would be a) he’d crawl out of it into our bed with no problem; and b) he wakes up at the slightest noise and gets really mad about it. He made it very clear when he was about four months that he no longer was willing to listen to us roll over and breathe and stuff. :)

            The problem really isn’t for little-little babies, for whom there are many options; the problem is the toddlers who aren’t old enough for a real bed yet, but who are difficult to contain in anything but a full-sized crib.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        This is what we did when my little sister was born. She slept in a plastic tub for 3 months until my mom insisted on buying a fancy mahogany crib to match the rest of the house furniture. Why people even buy cribs is beyond me. If I ever spawn, my brats are gonna sleep in Rubbermaid tubs till they outgrow them.

        • veritybrown says:

          My second son napped in a traditional bassinet until he outgrew it (in length). My youngest daughter had a porta-playpen (with a bassinet add-on, when she was tiny) for her naps. All three kids spent the night in our bed, though, because it was a whole lot easier for breastfeeding, and I was always a light enough sleeper that any distress on baby’s part woke me up to fix it. I felt a lot safer, once I knew that, having baby in bed with me instead of in another room.

    • Kate-Kate says:

      What about cutting a bit off the legs? I’m also short and that will be my solution probably.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        I’m short on the top, so I can’t bend far enough in — I’m not sure making the legs shorter would help, since I have almost equal trouble reaching into the pack-n-play, which is on the floor, more or less. If he drops a favorite toy in there, it just has to stay there until daddy gets home. (I have the same problem with chest freezers, I just can’t reach the stuff on the bottom.)

        I just feel like an accessible baby crib shouldn’t be quite so hard to do — and for me it’s an inconvenience, whatever, but for parents with disabilities, especially in wheelchairs, it can be a real hazard and a real barrier to providing care to their babies. It’s not rocket science, they should be able to do this for not just us shorties but, really, for people who need accessibility options!

    • bnelson333 says:

      I hear ya. My wife is even shorter, 5’0″ and when the crib mattress was on the lowest level, she had a heck of a time even with the drop side down.

  6. Kman says:

    I fully support this ban, but it does show how pathetic US company standards are. It is certainly possible to build a safe drop side crib, however to meet the consumer demand for the cheapest thing possible so many corners are cut that the result is unsafe. It baffles me that the consumer market tolerates this and requires the government to step in and implement a ban.

    • mythago says:

      Yes, I’m sure that all those Pottery Barn cribs are “the cheapest thing possible”. You know how downmarket Pottery Barn is and all.

      • yagisencho says:

        Pottery Barn sells plenty of cheaply-made crap, even if they charge a premium for their brand.

  7. NoFriggingWay says:

    I’m just shy of 5’9 in my Bare Feet. Ive never been able to reach into a crib and properly pick up a Baby with out lowering the side rails. Add Tennis shoes and its a stretch but can be done. Add Heels and I can do it with out too many problems.

    Here is a solution to the crib Company’s. Lower the Legs! Or raise the bed. Cribs used to sit on the Floor, You can make them a little lower with out sacrificing babies lives or Looks of the Crib.

  8. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I’m going to buy one of these cribs and use it to store lawn darts.

    • 108socks says:

      +1.

      • cromartie says:

        While you’re at it, find some nice lead paint to paint it with. Once it dries, come back and grab a couple of paint chips to feed to your kid.

        Oh, and your child should sleep on the latest Serta Snugglbestos crib mattress as well.

  9. bnelson333 says:

    This ban is stupid. Drop side cribs serve a real purpose, especially for shorter folks or anybody who’s ever tried to get a sleeping baby in the crib without waking them up. Go back to using quality materials and it won’t be a problem. Oh and parents, don’t cheap out on something so important. I’m a pretty frugal guy but when it came to baby gear, I spared no expense on two things: crib and car seat. It’s just not worth saving a few bucks and putting your baby at risk.

    • Groanan says:

      Why do you need the crib? To me a crib does two things:

      Puts your child where it can’t escape and be safe
      Gives your child a place to sleep

      There are tons of alternatives to buying some wooden contraption with moving parts.

      • "I Like Potatoes" says:

        So…what are your alternatives?

        • veritybrown says:

          For tiny infants, a bassinet works just fine and doesn’t take up as much space. If you’re able to cope with it, keeping the baby in bed with you at night is a traditional alternative (although obviously too “dangerous” for the Panicky Parent crowd). A playpen or play-yard keeps toddlers out of trouble during the day or during a nap (although you need to make sure you buy one that has a safe design). If you’re willing to actually WATCH OVER your child, there are all kinds of makeshift options. I wonder how many toddlers have been injured climbing over the side of a drop-side crib, after being left “caged” there while their parents were otherwise occupied? Bottom line is: never trust any piece of equipment with your unattended infant’s safety unless you have carefully examined it for possible safety problems AND are willing to take the responsibility for whatever happens as a result of leaving your child in it unattended.

          • "I Like Potatoes" says:

            Seriously – a child should not be left unattended while sleeping? OMG!!!!

          • "I Like Potatoes" says:

            I’m glad that you are able to sit and watch your baby while he sleeps and instantly pop up and pick him up when he awakens. It must be so wonderful to know that you are such a wonderful parent. Thanks for your enlightening advice about making sure your child never wakes up without a parent present. For the rest of us – we’ll be sleeping in our own rooms while our children are sleeping unattended and probably will have tragedy befall them any minute. How the hell did I ever manage to have four kids survive???

      • veritybrown says:

        How do you suppose people got by before the drop-side crib was invented? I had one for our first child, because it was “what you buy when you have a baby.” Didn’t actually use it all that much. Didn’t have room to take it with us when we moved, right after our second child was born, and didn’t have the money to replace it when we got settled again. We managed just fine without it. Never did replace it, even with our third child.

        A drop-side crib is an invention that allows parents to cage their infant in a separate bedroom so the kid doesn’t interfere any more than necessary with the parents’ comfortable pre-child lifestyle.

  10. H3ion says:

    How in the world did we ever survive? My children and now my grandchildren all have used drop sided cribs and lived to tell about it. Is it possible that the plastic tracks that are now used instead of the old metal guides are just not up to the job? What’s just as dangerous are the crib bumpers. An infant could get caught under one and suffocate. Why does the CPSC still allow these to be sold?

  11. MrsLopsided says:

    We have to protect kids from their idiot parents who can’t assemble or maintain a crib and who use poorly fitting mattresses & bedding. IMHO the main problems are 1) users and 2) manufacturers using cheap and plastic hardware for dropside mechanisms.

  12. Memtex784 says:

    I have one of those drop side cribs. The directions were vague at best. So to ensure slippery operation, Vaseline was applied to the plastic rails for smooth operation. For hardware attachments they could of used nuts with nylon inserts so they don’t vibrate out.

  13. duxup says:

    This seemed inevitable. Drop side crib recalls seem endless and most baby advise books, magazines and so forth all advise you just avoid them all together.

  14. mbz32190 says:

    So, when will they start shipping out free cable ties to consumers? I’m starting to run out…

  15. spazztastic says:

    Great! When will we ban cars? They kill that many in a few hours.

  16. Red_Eye says:

    A shame, crush out a few more jobs. My now 8 yr old daughter had a drop side crib. Of course we took great care in its assembly and testing since we bought it used. Of course you cant protect people from themselves.

  17. alphadog says:

    Guess what is perfectly useless and now I have to store lawn darts in (that really made me laugh) instead of being passed down to my grandchildren? My beautiful, iron crib made by Bratt Decor with a drop side rail. They have mailed me parts to make the drop side stable but I am sure that my daughter will be as neurotic as me and won’t trust it. I loved my crib and is gorgeous. My mother spent an arm and leg on it and now? Totally obsolete. Fantastic.

  18. sanjaysrik says:

    “pottery barn” sells cribs?

    huh?

    I’m sure as a parent, that’s the FIRST place i’d go in search of a crib.

  19. Dragon Tiger says:

    Wait, there’s only five people in the Consumer Product Safety Commission?

  20. kattharris says:

    I wonder how many babies are going to die of head injuries from falling out of cribs with the mattresses left too high by parents that can’t reach them without the drop side functionality.

  21. GameHen says:

    I predict a gold rush in the Chiropractic industry as well as in pharmaceutical pain-killers for serious back injuries.

    Seriously, the nature of a deep crib that prevents the young toddler from escaping and injuring herself during the night also prevents the parent from bending at the knees to safely pick up said (very heavy) toddler. Arms are shorter than legs; hence the health benefits of the drop-side crib.