In December 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new standards for cribs to protect the most vulnerable segment of the human population – infants. An alarming number of infants were being injured or killed after being put in cribs, which are widely considered the safest place to leave a child unattended. Babies were falling out of cribs when the sides unexpectedly dropped. Weak slats were breaking and dropping infants to the floor. Faulty hardware was causing cribs to malfunction.
According to the commission’s website, five new requirements were added for all domestic and import manufacturers:
- Drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold as new, and immobilizers and repair kits for older models are not allowed.
- Slats must be made of stronger woods to prevent breakage.
- Crib hardware must be secured with antiloosening devices.
- Mattress supports must be more durable.
- Safety testing must be more rigorous.
As of June 28, 2011, all cribs offered for sale in the United States had to meet the above requirements. Cribs used in the home could once again be considered the safest place for infants.
But what if your child is not sleeping at home? Do the same standards apply?
Not yet. While new cribs being sold have to conform to the new standards, some businesses that use cribs are still exempt. Day care centers, Head Start schools, hotels, property rental companies and other companies do not have to replace old, potential unsafe cribs with new ones that meet the requirements until December 28, 2012..
It is imperative for any parents of young children to check the cribs at child care providers before allowing them to place their little loved ones in them. Parents should ask the employees if all of their cribs meet the new standards. Consider alternate arrangements if they do not comply.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.