Your Baby's Crib Probably Fails Tough New Safety Rules

Does your crib pass the new strict safety rules that went into effect Tuesday? Most likely not. “Newly required safety tests are so stringent that few cribs in American homes — even those that have escaped recall after recall — are sturdy enough to pass them,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “As a result, federal regulators recommend that families that can afford to do so buy new cribs and destroy their old ones.” Here’s what you need to know.

Here are some of the new standards:

NO DROP SIDE CRIBS. AT ALL.
Drop side cribs are banned from being made. The sides would get loose and kill babies when their necks got stuck between them. Even kits that “fix” drop side cribs are out. If you have a drop side crib, just get rid of it.

STRONGER SLATS
Tougher material has to be used so slats don’t break and create entrapment areas.

MORE ENDURANCE TESTING
The cribs need to go through tests that simulate how they get rocked around by a kid over the years. They need to keep their fittings tight.

MORE RESILIENT MATTRESS
The mattresses will have to stand up to 45 pound weights being repeatedly dropped on them. If the mattress support malfunctions, the resulting sag can also create another entrapment area.

Under the new rules, manufacturers will not be allowed to tighten the screws on the crib in between the different tests. Why they ever were allowed to do so in the first place…

How do you know if the crib you have or are buying meets the standards? You’ll need to check whether it has a certificate verifying it passes the stricter guidelines. Manufacturers are supposed to give them to retailers, but not all, including Walmart and Target, plan on making them available to consumers, although Babies R Us and Toys R Us said that you can ask for one through their customer service line.

THE TAKEAWAY:

Your best bet is to call up the manufacturer and ask if the crib is 16 CFR 1219 compliant (PDF) and demand to see a certificate of compliance. (Here is a sample of what one looks like (PDF))

For ratings and buying guides for cribs, check out this info from Consumer Reports.

Updated: The New Crib Standard: Questions and Answers [CPSC.gov]
All cribs now must pass tough new safety rules [LAT]
Crib safety regulations get stricter [news.consumerreports]