CONSUMER FORUM

Drop-side crib recall update

Posted Oct. 02, 2011, at 11:25 a.m.

Regular readers of this column might wonder why the subject of drop-side crib recalls is back (see Consumer Forum, July 4, 2011). It’s more for clarification than for any really new development.

The only “news” was last week’s recall of a relatively small number of cribs, when viewed on a global scale. The 2,300 cribs sold in the United States, and about 800 in Canada, seem small compared with the roughly 11 million involved in prior recalls. Since this one involves a manufacturer located in the nearby Province of Quebec, it seemed prudent to make note of it.

Parents of infants are likely well aware of the dangers of drop-side cribs. If a side falls and traps a baby, choking or other injuries may result. Little ones tend to be “top-heavy” and cannot break a fall with their arms; so if a side falls and the child tumbles out, he or she could be badly hurt as well. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says it’s aware of 21 incidents of falling crib sides, but luckily no injuries have been reported.

As with previous recalls, the hardware that allows a crib side to be lowered for easier access is the problem. The manufacturer, Shermag of Quebec, says on its website the drop-side gate hardware can break, causing the gate to drop partially and creating the potential hazard.

The company says the wooden, drop-side cribs in the recall were made in various colors; model numbers 202647, 211047 and 272547 are included. The company name “Shermag” is on a tag on the mattress springs.

They were sold as part of the “City Lights,” “Fairy Tales” and “Dormez Vous” furniture collections in The Land of Nod and other baby specialty stores from September 2004 through December 2008. The cribs, which were made in China, sold for between $600 and $800.

Shermag says owners of their cribs can get a free repair kit from the firm by calling 800-567-3419 or by visiting the company website, www.shermag.com.

It says the repair kit it will provide on request will keep the side from moving. Until that repair is made, parents are urged to stop using the cribs immediately and find another appropriate place for the child to sleep, depending on the child’s age.

The CPSC urges caregivers not to attempt other repairs, reporting infant deaths have occurred when such makeshift repairs were attempted. The agency also reminds consumers that recalled goods may not be re-sold or donated.

Last December CPSC established the first new mandatory standards on cribs in three decades. The CPSC’s action came after the death of at least 36 infants since 2007. New standards ban production of cribs with movable drop-down sides. However, child care centers, infant Head Start programs, rental companies and places of public accommodation have until December of next year to do away with all drop-side cribs.

The CPSC offers a range of tips on keeping cribs safe on its website, http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5030.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, go to http://necontact.wordpress.com, or email contacexdir@live.com.

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