New crib safety standards that every parent needs to know about
Finally there are new federal safety standards for baby cribs. These new mandatory rules are to prevent crib related injuries and deaths and to ensure a safer sleep environment for babies.
No more production and selling of dangerous
Only after millions of dangerous cribs have been recalled and at least 32 babies have died of suffocation or strangulation, CPSC has taken action, and since June 2011 all cribs made and sold in the US have to pass more rigid testing to meet the new crib safety standards.
About 82 percent out of a total of 3500 accidents was due to failure of the crib itself. The majority of these accidents was caused by drop-side failure. But also breaking slats, poor mattress fitting and paint related problems have cause several tragedies.
So what changes with the new crib safety standards?
- First of all manufactures are not allowed to produce and sell cribs with dangerous drop-side rails. Retail stores are only allowed to sell cribs that meet the new federal crib safety standards.
- Mattress supports should be stronger. Cribs have to pass a vertical impact test.
- Crib hardware should be stronger and more durable.
- Improvement of the strength of crib slats.
What should I check my crib for?
If you bought a crib before June 2011 it is almost certain it does not meet today's crib safety standards. If you can't afford to buy a new crib it you should check your crib regularly.
- Every time you change baby's sheets check if all hardware is secured and in place. Can you see any loose or broken parts?
- Wiggle the crib to see how secure the joints are. Stop using the crib if it has loose wood to wood joints or if you are not able to tighten the screws.
- If you have a drop-side crib that is in a good condition and you wish to secure the side rails, try to order the immobilizers from the manufacturer to keep the drop-side rails in a fixed position. CPSC offers a list of the companies that offer immobilizers as part of a recall, and are approved by them.
- As a rule, do not use a crib more than 10 years old. The older a crib the greater the possibility you will experience problems with it. Wear and tear over time will certainly have made those cribs less safe.
Never try to fix a crib yourself with tape or wire. Several infants have been hurt or died in cribs with amateurish repairs.
Make sure the crib has not been recalled.
Buying and selling used cribs
According to the new rules you are not allowed to give away or try to sell a crib that does not meet the crib safety standards. If you consider your crib not safe for your baby or don't need it anymore, CPSC recommends taking it apart and disposing of it.
But also all public used cribs in child care facilities should be replaced with ones compliant to the new rules. This includes every child care service in a non-residential setting including churches and day care centres.
Sleep alternatives for your baby
Even if you purchased your crib just after June 2011, it is a good idea to check the manufacturing date, which should be somewhere on your crib. It is not uncommon that your retailer had the crib in their back stock for a while.
If you are no sure the crib you are using is 100 percent safe, you can always ask the manufacturer or retailer for a certification that your crib complies with the new rules.
In the meantime put your baby elsewhere to sleep. For baby's under 6 months a safer place is a bassinet. Bassinets are safe for babies under six months or until baby is able to push up on hands and knees. For babies and toddlers older than 6 months you can use a playpen or play yard.