Risk to babies still high after recall of cribs

By Russ Van Arsdale Executive director Northeast Contact, Special to the BDN
Posted Dec. 06, 2009, at 8:36 p.m.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission heard testimony in April about crib safety. Commissioners were urged not to blame all cribs — which many consider the safest place for infants to sleep — for the problems a few manufacturers have had.

Our concern here is with the numbers of recalled cribs that may still be for sale or in storage, waiting for guests to arrive this holiday season. We’d like to remind users that a child could be seriously hurt or killed if defective cribs are put to use.

Just last Wednesday, the commission and LaJobi Industries re-announced a recall first made in 2001. At issue: about 400 cribs with cutouts in the end panels that can allow children’s heads to become trapped, posing the hazard of strangulation. That’s just what happened to a 1-year-old in Mississippi in 2003, well after the 2001 recall.

On Nov. 23, Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc. recalled 2.1 million drop-side cribs. Plastic hardware parts can break or become distorted, allowing the side to come away from the crib. A consumer might also install the drop side upside-down. In either case, sliding between the side and the crib could leave the baby’s face pressed into the mattress, possibly causing suffocation.

Another big crib recall was issued in September 2007. It involved 1 million cribs sold by Simplicity Inc. of Reading, Pa., from January 1998 through May 2007 for $100 to $300. The drop-side design was intended to make life easier for parents, but design and hardware problems allowed the side to detach and possibly trap a child.

A recall about a year later involved 600,000 Simplicity cribs sold from January 2005 through August 2008. Different hardware was used, but the drop side could still come off its tracks, causing similar risks. In July of this year, another 400,000 Simplicity cribs were recalled when it was learned the plastic hardware could break or deform, again allowing sides to come away.

Adding insult to injury, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says it appears Simplicity’s new owner has stopped conducting day-to-day operations. Since there are no repairs available, the commission suggests returning cribs for a refund or store credit.

Better service comes from LaJobi Industries, which recalled just over 2,000 Cabana drop-side cribs with slats that can break, leaving a dangerous gap between remaining slats. The company offers “free stationary and drop side crib rails.”

LaJobi has a couple of other recalls noted on its Web site. A total of 2,950 Pinehurst and Hudson model drop-side cribs made between Jan. 1 and Aug. 25, 2007, were shipped with a lower guide spring pin that can stick or pop out. The company says this can cause the side rail to separate from the crib. The company offers a free retrofit kit.

In October 2008 Delta Enterprise Corp. of New York City recalled 600,000 drop-side cribs after improperly attached spring pegs were found to allow sides to detach.

Our point: There may be millions of accidents waiting to happen.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission does its best to publicize all its recalls, but our information-soaked society often finds us overloaded. In a reissue such as last week’s, the agency targets thrift and secondhand store owners, garage sale organizers and anyone who may simply pull an unused crib out of storage when guests arrive. Putting a recalled crib back into use — even for one night — is simply too risky.

On the Web:

www.cpsc.gov/cribs.html

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s membership-funded, nonprofit consumer organization. Individual and business memberships are available at modest rates. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for more information, write: Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, or e-mail contacexdir@live.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/12/06/business/risk-to-babies-still-high-after-recall-of-cribs/ printed on July 25, 2014