We know. You bought a drop-side crib years ago for Baby #1 when just about every crib on the market had this “wonderful, convenient new feature!” But now, with Baby #2, or maybe even #3, you’ve heard enough warnings and horror stories about the dangers of drop-side cribs that you’re worried about your new baby’s safety. You know your old crib doesn’t comply with the new crib safety standards, so what’s a parent to do?
Well, here’s the short answer: if there’s any possible way to buy a new crib, do so. (You can read more here.)
Basically, the new federal safety mandates went into effect June 28, 2011, and are as follows:
- Traditional drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold
- Wooden slats must be made of strong woods to prevent breakage
- Crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from coming loose or falling off
- Mattress supports must be more durable
- Safety testing must be more rigorous
And, after December 28, 2012, the law states that childcare facilities, family childcare homes, and places of public accommodations, such as hotels and motels, must also provide cribs that comply with the new and improved standards.
But What if I Simply Can’t Buy a New Crib?
If your economic situation prevents you from purchasing a new crib, one option is to use a portable crib/play yard instead, such as the Chicco Lullaby LX Playard, so long as it’s a model that hasn’t been previously recalled.
If you must continue to use your current drop-side crib however, begin by taking the following safety steps:
- Immediately stop using the drop-side function
- Check your crib frequently to ensure that all hardware stays tightly secured and that there are no loose, missing, or broken parts
- Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) website for companies that have recalled their cribs and those that are providing immobilizer kits. (Read on to learn more about immobilizer kits.)
As a result of the massive drop-side crib recall — more than 2.1 million cribs — the CPSC is working with companies to provide fixes for their products. The remedy is an immobilizer kit. Many drop-side crib manufacturers will mail you a free kit that fits your specific crib. These devices secure the crib side, no longer allowing it to drop down, to prevent dangerous situations where the drop-side may either partially or fully separate from the crib, creating a suffocation hazard at worst, or a potentially painful trapped limb or broken bone.
The CPSC strongly warns, however: Do not attempt to fix your drop-side crib yourself using homemade ingenuity. Only approved immobilizers were evaluated by CPSC staff for safety and for use with particular drop-side cribs.
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has also launched a crib safety initiative. You can visit JPMA’s website for a list of participating manufacturers and for downloadable materials to ensure your baby’s safe night’s sleep.
What if My Drop-Side Crib Has Not Been Recalled?
If your drop-side crib has not been recalled, call the manufacturer and ask if they’re making an immobilizer for your crib. Remember though that these particular immobilizers have not been tested or evaluated by CPSC for use with your specific crib. Additionally note that a drop-side crib, even with an immobilizer installed, will still not meet the new CPSC crib standards.
Should you decide to replace your old drop-side crib with either a safe portable crib (for the time being), or when you’re ready to purchase a new, up-to-date crib, do not resell, donate, or give away your old drop-side crib. The CPSC recommends disassembling the crib and then discarding it.
For further information about your current crib’s safety, or for help and advice in purchasing a new crib or portable crib, please contact your local USA Baby store.
JPMA Hotline (877) 673-2742 / (877-673-CRIB)
CPSC Recall Hotline (800) 638-2772