Recent surges in federal recalls of defective cribs have renewed the discussion of crib and child product safety standards.
“Less than a month ago, the federal government recalled nearly 1.6 million cribs sold by the Delta Corporation - the world’s largest distributor of baby beds. But parents who asked Delta Enterprise for a kit to fix the cribs’ hazardous drop rails may have a false sense of confidence, according to a Tribune investigation. Government documents reviewed by the newspaper reveal at least 19 instances of an entirely different hazard on the Delta cribs—mattress platforms that drop and create a gap that can entrap and strangle babies.”–Patricia Callahan, The Chicago Tribune
As the causes of reported infant injuries from crib accidents continue to mount, it becomes increasingly clear that regulators are not facing a singular design flaw, but an industry wide safety problem. One recent industrial trend has become evident: Baby beds are now made almost exclusively in overseas factories in and mills where construction standards and labor laws are frequently ignored. The product is packaged overseas in a manner to reduce shipping costs to a minimum and then shipped to huge US retailers. These retailers do not inspect the products for safety. Instead, they put them on shelves to be sold to unsuspecting parents who have little information on whether the crib is safe. Finally, these parents must then assemble multiple parts (big and small) while trying to follow complicated and inadequate assembly instructions.
The latest such defective product was imported by the Delta Corporation. Although Delta Corporation earns millions selling infant cribs, they have ignored the concerns of parents who have purchased their products. Customers of the Delta Crib Corporation have reported a general lack of concern to solve the problem when they have called to report crib accidents. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has publicly reported and that,“…Delta employees seemed indifferent when they reported the problems.” Other parents have been told by Delta that the company is,“…aware of prior incidents and that assembly instructions were faulty.”(Callahan) Despite having knowledge of this problem and earning millions in profits, the Delta Corporation has yet to take any action to remedy these multiple hazards.
If you are expecting a new child, you can take several steps to keep your baby safe. Please remember to research all cribs you are considering purchasing. Please also research any crib that you are currently using. Check to determine where the crib was actually manufactured and whether it has been inspected by any recognized safety organizations such as The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association. Check parenting magazines for reviews of cribs. Finally, remember that the simpler the crib, the better. Remember to perform safety checks to ensure that: 1) all screws and bolts are tight, 2) all moving parts and exposed angles are safe, and, 3) the mattress and supports are properly aligned and positioned.
For more information on Crib Safety, including recommendations and safety tips, please visit the American Association of Pediatrics Crib Information site. http://www.minfirm.com/ http://www.minfirm.com/defective.asp