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Toss drop-side cribs, parents are urged; they’re illegal now anyway

As parents are urged to trash their old cribs to make way for a new generation of safer, sturdier cribs, they may naturally be wondering just what was so wrong with the old ones.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission explains by outlining what the new rules are supposed to do; they’re now in effect for any crib sold, or even donated, in the U.S.:

“These mandatory standards will: 1) stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; 2) make mattress supports stronger; 3) improve slat strength, 4) make crib hardware more durable; and 5) make safety testing more rigorous.”

The National Institutes of Health said Monday that such standards will help “ensure a safe sleep environment for infants in the United States.”

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The new guidelines were prompted by baby deaths in cribs considered safe, most notably drop-side cribs in which a baby can get trapped and suffocate. An article in the Chicago Tribune notes:

“A product supposed to be the safest item in the nursery — the one place where a parent can leave an infant unattended for hours — had become a deathtrap for some babies thanks to bad designs, defective hardware and flimsy parts.”

Poor crib hardware is just one hazard for a sleeping baby — pillows, blankets and bumper pads are others. The Consumer Produce Safety Commission offers these pointers on ensuring a baby’s bed is safe.

Consumer Reports elaborates, noting the importance of inspecting hotel cribs and skipping the “crib gym,” among other things. (Crib gyms are toys that can be stretched across the top of a crib to keep baby entertained).

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 A question-and-answer from the Chicago Tribune offers some common questions and related answers about the matter, including buying-on-a-budget tips. 

The article ends with this advice:

“Q: I want to throw out my old crib but am worried somebody may take it. What should I do?

A: Take your old crib apart and throw it out in pieces — one side one week, one side another week — so that nobody can rebuild it from the parts left on the curb or in the trash bin.”

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It’s better not to risk anyone’s child.  

healthkey@tribune.com

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