After dozens of deaths, drop-side cribs outlawed

The Associated Press is reporting:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s the end of the traditional crib that has cradled millions of babies for generations.

The government outlawed drop-side cribs on Wednesday after the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers in the past decade and millions of recalls.

It was a unanimous vote by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of the cribs, which have a side rail that moves up and down, allowing parents to more easily lift their child from the crib.

The new standard requiring cribs to have fixed sides would take effect in June. The move by CPSC would also prohibit hotels and childcare centers from using drop-sides, though those facilities would have a year to purchase new cribs.

Around for decades, drop-side cribs have come under scrutiny in recent years because of malfunctioning hardware, sometimes cheaper plastics, or assembly problems that can lead to the drop-side rail partially detaching from the crib. When that happens, it can create a dangerous “V”-like gap between the mattress and side rail where a baby can get caught and suffocate or strangle.

CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum hailed the new standard for cribs as one of the strongest in the world.

“I believe these new standards will markedly reduce crib-related hazards and help to ensure that young children sleep more safely in their cribs,” Tenenbaum said after the vote.

In all, drop-side cribs have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000 and are suspected in another 14 infant fatalities. In the past five years, more than 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled, including cribs from big-name companies such as Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp., and Pottery Barn Kids.

“These products are deadly, and this critically needed action will prevent further senseless deaths,” said New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who pushed legislation to get drop-side cribs off the market.

The new standard also mandates tougher safety testing for cribs, tests that more closely mimic a child in a crib. As children get older, they can apply more force to the crib — shaking on it, running around in it, jumping up and down. The new tests aim to make sure the cribs can take that kind of pressure.

Better labeling on crib pieces will also be required — a measure that aims to cut down on the misassembly problems that some parents have encountered, problems that can lead to the death of a child.

For parents who lost their children in drop-side cribs, Wednesday’s ban couldn’t come soon enough.

“I feel like it’s a celebratory time because things are finally being done about the issue,” said Michele Witte of Merrick, N.Y. Witte’s 10-month-old son, Tyler, died in a drop-side crib in 1997 after one of the side rails came loose, partially detached and then trapped his neck between the rail and the headboard.

Chad Johns, whose son Liam died in a drop-side crib in 2005, said he was a little relieved.

“Yes, it’s a long time coming,” said Johns from Roseville, Calif. “But the fact that it is happening — that’s what is important.”

I have to run to the school but I will link up to more stories as they are posted.

I feel lucky all three of my kids survived sleeping in a drop-side crib. You know the side did fall a couple of times, and we always assumed we just hadn’t hooked it back into place well. Now I feel so blessed that nothing bad happened to them. You always think of the crib being safe. It is a huge change for mothers and hopefully will save many, many lives.

(I may hold my fun blog for tomorrow since this news popped up. We’ll see.)

33 comments Add your comment


December 15th, 2010
1:14 pm


December 15th, 2010
1:35 pm

I had a hard time letting go of the drop-side idea. It is so much easier to put the baby in the bed gently when you have a drop-side crib. But I recently received my recall fix for the drop-side crib, and a part of my gut knows that my baby is safer for it. This decision may inconvenience parents/daycares, etc, but it is a life-saving change. Remember when infant car seats were just little buckets you put the baby in? Thank goodness our standards there changed, too!


December 15th, 2010
1:38 pm

I’m with you FCM. Cheerful, this ain’t.


December 15th, 2010
2:22 pm

Wow! I have seen some people do awful jobs of putting cribs together and I have a feeling that a lot of problems were probably caused by human error more so than the cribs themselves. If people aren’t careful putting together the stationary ones they are going to still have problems. It is sad that all those children died…

First time poster

December 15th, 2010
2:23 pm

I’m probably going to get blasted for this, but many of the deaths reported – while terrible and tragic – were caused by the parents putting back together a prior crib for a 2nd, 3rd, etc. baby, and not putting the pieces back together properly. As a shortie, I don’t know what I would have done without my drop-side crib.

Concerned Father

December 15th, 2010
2:24 pm

What about hospitals? Are they exempt from the ban? My son was hospitalized recently and most of the rooms for babis and toddlers have drop-side cribs…


December 15th, 2010
2:37 pm

“I feel lucky all three of my kids survived sleeping in a drop-side crib.”
Really? Really? Do you ever drive your kids around in a car? Their chances of being killed going to the grocery store with you are greater than their chances of dying in a drop-side crib.
This is mind-bogglingly silly…

usually lurking

December 15th, 2010
2:53 pm

Risk assessment – 32 confirmed and 14 suspected deaths compared to how many babies slept in drop-side cribs since 2000? My children survived drop-side and (horrors) crib bumpers too! I sure hope the new crib design takes into account people who are too short to reach over the crib rail.


December 15th, 2010
3:07 pm

I wonder if they’ll start selling step-stools that match the cribs now.


December 15th, 2010
3:08 pm

@Emma and First time poster -I’ve often wondered what short people would do without drop sides! I’m fairly tall, and it’s a reach to put a baby all the way down in a crib. This is just like the sudden decision last year that no child under 6 every needs cough or cold medicine again! It’s because too many parents don’t follow instructions and overdose the kids -or in this case don’t put the cribs together properly. It’s horribly tragic that children have died, but it’s user error that is primarily to blame.

Nanny State

December 15th, 2010
3:13 pm

What, they have outlawed the “guillotine?” It was good enough for me, so why not the current crop of cry babies?

Legislated Risk

December 15th, 2010
3:14 pm

32 deaths in ten years, why that’s more than meteorite strike, spontaneous combustion and unicorn attack combined…

the truth hurts

December 15th, 2010
3:18 pm

Hard to argue with their logic.

Too much serious content lately. Where have the sex blogs been?


December 15th, 2010
3:21 pm

That would solve the problem too. Or people should stop buying garbage from WalMart. Sure its cheap, but cheaply sold equals cheaply made.
First the chinese dog food, sheetrock, now this, what’s next?


December 15th, 2010
3:25 pm

I say this with utmost respect, compassion, and understanding: WAKE UP!
My mom died a few years ago. I wanted to hold someone responsible. The ambulence was late because the local volunteer squad couldn’t be found on Christmas Eve. After grieving and thinking things through, while her time here was short, her time to go was just that, her time to go.
I know the loss of a child is just unbearable on so many levels, but education is a better tool in this case, not the total banishment of a product that has been effectively used for so many decades.


December 15th, 2010
3:27 pm

Wow. This is the very dictionary definition of handwaving freakoutery. Dozens died. Yep, looks like little more than two dozen in ten years. This is why lotteries are so successful in this country. Folks just don’t understand statistics. I’ll be laying my baby to bed tonight in a drop-sided crib with bumpers after I feed her from a bottle which may or may not be BPA-free … and I’m not going to spend one damn second worrying about it.

Oh, and I don’t play the lottery either.

james w. johnson

December 15th, 2010
3:29 pm

Hey Shorties. Did no one ever show you
how to saw the legs off that crib?


December 15th, 2010
3:34 pm

You see, Mr. Johnson, the problem is, if people started sawing the legs off of their cribs, I can virtually guarantee you that greater than 32 people would die from grevious wounds suffered from improper use of power tools. And don’t call me Shortie. From down here I’ve got a clean shot at your …. nevermind.

Dumbing down

December 15th, 2010
3:44 pm

And yet stupid parents continue to plague the nation and even greater idiots continue to infest Washington DC and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Dumbing down

December 15th, 2010
3:47 pm

Tens of thousands of children have died upsidedown in small amounts of liquid in 5 gallon buckets. Why no call to outlaw buckets or containers of all kinds for that matter.

Government is stupid and the greatest threat to the american people there is. In the 20th century, governments globally murdered over 200 million of their own citizens and hundreds of millions more in other countries – and yet aside from those with some common sense, where is the call to ban government???

Bluebell Jones

December 15th, 2010
4:00 pm

I will never get over the fact that you are actually paid to write this blog. Cut & paste from the AP, write 7 sentences.


December 15th, 2010
4:23 pm

Thank you, Chip. Today’s word of the day– Handwaving Frreakoutery.

usually lurking

December 15th, 2010
5:29 pm

@Chip – LOL


December 15th, 2010
5:38 pm

Yes, it looks like this may save between 3 and 5 lives per year over the last 10 years. Hip hip hooray… My wife is pregnant, and I cannot imagine the pain that these 40-something families have had to deal with. But come on. More people—babies or otherwise—die from plenty of other things. The world is a dangerous place. There will probably be deaths from babies dropped or placed improperly now because they have farther to go to hit the mattress. Sigh…


December 15th, 2010
6:13 pm

@first time – I agree. If I hadn’t had a drop-side crib I would have been dropping my child onto the mattress from a foot or more up OR I would have had to climb a step stool while holding my child and then lean in. I personally think more children will risk injury/death from parents climbing on things to be able to lay them down OR from parents keeping the mattress raised up too high after the child should be at a lower mattress setting.
Any death is tragic but the unintended consequences of these rulings often end up causing more injuries, more regulations and more expense to already harried parents.


December 15th, 2010
6:17 pm

@JATL – the cough syrup ruling is another one with unintended consequences. The number of fewer emergency room visits for children with reactions to cold medicines has gone down but the total number of visits by children in general with cold symptoms has gone up because parents don’t have any alternative.


December 15th, 2010
7:36 pm kids survived the drop side crib…Baby Tenda I think it was. Cost a fortune, would never buy again now that I am older and (hopefully) wiser. But, it had a gate through one of the doors which was pretty cool when the kids try to start climbing over. Open the gate, let them climb through, and you could slide through there to calm them vs co-sleeping in your own bed. Bummer for the recall…just need to do better quality materials.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 15th, 2010
11:06 pm

The Cheerful post was postponed when news broke about the cribs — Happy post tomorrow morning — I will work on some sex blogs for those that requested — have to think —

techmom — I’m not particularly short but with my last one I stopped dropping the side and did have a step stool in front of the crib — also so the other kids could look in and touch the baby (when she was bigger in the crib) –


December 16th, 2010
12:26 am

@penguinmom -yes, I’ve heard a number of professionals lament the cough syrup/cold medicine ruling because now so many parents won’t give it! HELLO PEOPLE -it’s STILL the same stuff you were giving them before the ruling! I just go by the old dosages and still give it to my 2 and 4 year olds. Better sleep, less coughing, less congestion -and since I have the sense to decipher dosage amounts and know better than to give more than the recommended dose from 2 years ago -everything works out fine. I am amazed at the numbers of otherwise intelligent people I know who ALWAYS gave their toddlers cough syrup, but stopped the minute that announcement was made.


December 16th, 2010
2:37 am

@JATL – I did the same thing as you. Too many people think scientists are infallible. “Obviously, since the Amer Ped Assoc said not to use it, I have to stop because they are doctors so they know Everything!” Most of these doses are so low that I can’t imagine how much extra parents must have been giving their kids in order for there to have been an issue.


December 16th, 2010
8:59 am

@penguinmom -agreed. I really think it boils down to stupidity. I’m sure you’ve run across people (I certainly have) who would think, “Well, if one teaspoon made him sleep that good, then I’ll give him 3 or 4 so he’ll sleep late tomorrow.” Pathetic, but I’ve *almost* stopped being stunned at the sheer brainlessness of many parents out there.


December 16th, 2010
9:39 am

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, I can’t even begin to imagine the number of back injuries parents are going to be incurring from having to lift that sack of potatoes straight up from a bend at the waist. I wonder what chiropractors have to say about this? :-)


December 17th, 2010
8:14 am

@ JATL…re: brainless


Parents…it is winter…please send a coat with your child to school every day


Perhaps they need to remind them about shoes and underwear too?