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Crib Recalls - Why Are There So Many Crib Recalls?


Child Craft Fixed Side Crib

This crib recall was issued because an improperly installed side results in a dangerous gap at the top of the crib. The reasons behind crib recalls vary, but all should be taken seriously since they pose significant risks to babies.

Photo courtesy of CPSC.gov.
Crib recalls are all over the news lately. One parent I know expressed her frustration about her son's crib recall by saying, "I freaked out when his crib was recalled, then I got the runaround from the store about returning the crib, and now I am afraid to pick a new crib for him because I'm certain the new crib will be the next one in a recall!"

It's easy to understand that sort of frustration, because more than 9 million cribs have been recalled since 2007. The reasons behind these cribs recalls are varied, though a great many of them have to do with safety issues with drop-side cribs. Broken hardware and changing safety standards have resulted in quite a few drop-side cribs recalls. Another common reason for a crib recall is a problem with the mattress support.

Nearly all of these crib problems create the same problem in the end, which is a gap between the crib rail and the mattress. When there's any extra space around the crib mattress, babies and toddlers can become trapped and can suffocate or be strangled. A second problem that is often created with these types of recalled cribs is that the baby or toddler can fall entirely out of the crib and be injured when the crib side detaches.

How Do I Know If My Crib Is Recalled?

If you think your baby's crib may be part of a recall, you can check the Current Baby Products Recalls list. All new recalls will be shown at the top of the list, and older recalls will follow. This list also has links to CPSC's page for each crib recall, and manufacturer contact information.

Another fantastic resource for crib recall information is CPSC's Crib Information Center. This site lists some of the most common safety problems with cribs, offers tips on safe sleep for your baby, and has a list of all crib recalls back to 1978.

Your Crib is Recalled. Now What?

If your baby's crib is included in a recall, the first thing to do is find an alternate, safe sleeping spot for your baby until you can address the problems with the crib. If you have a play yard, that's often a good choice for temporary sleeping quarters. For toddlers, an inexpensive toddler bed would do the trick.

You'll need to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the crib recall. Some older cribs may be part of a replacement program. Sometimes parents are instructed to return the crib to a specific store, sometimes the replacement crib is of a certain brand, and sometimes you may get a rebate or a coupon towards the purchase of any new crib. It's important to understand the manufacturer's instructions for the recall first, though, so you don't run into trouble with getting a refund or replacement.

Other crib manufacturers, including many who have recalled drop-side cribs, may send a repair kit. For many drop-side cribs, this repair kit immobilizes the drop-side and creates a fixed-side crib. Other repair kits might address a specific problem or may contain new hardware to replace something less durable.

Broken Cribs and Recalls

Recently, a friend's crib was included in a new recall, and she noticed that the crib was, indeed, broken. After taking a look at the manufacturer's recall instructions, she found that the repair kit that would be sent was only to immobilize the drop-side crib. The repair kit did not contain anything that would fix the problem that created the need for the immobilizing kit! If she had used the provided repair kit without also fixing the broken piece, her son's crib would still have a dangerous gap at the bottom.

If your baby's crib is recalled, take a few minutes to check the whole thing over. One broken crib piece can put extra stress on other parts, and can create new problems. Make sure that there's not more than one problem that should be fixed.

Fixing Recalled Cribs At Home

Don't try to fix a recalled crib on your own. Over the years, parents have tried to fix broken cribs in a variety of ways. Duct tape, zip ties, glue.... You name it, and a parent has probably tried to fix a crib with it. However, those things can stretch or break over time, too, which can create the same safety issue again, plus some new ones if baby has access to tape or pieces of plastic that could be a choking hazard.

There have been a few parents who have faced charges in court due to their own crib fixes. If you knew the crib was dangerous, and your baby were hurt or killed because you tried to fix it yourself instead of using a manufacturer-approved method, you could be in legal trouble. While this isn't a common problem, it is something to be aware of, particularly as laws about recalls and cribs are changing.

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