Kolcraft and CPSC announced the recall today of one million play yards. The side rail of the play yard can unexpectedly collapse, causing a fall and an entrapment hazard. The release cites 347 incidents in which the side arm failed, including 21 injuries. The recall covers many brand names including Carter’s, Sesame Street, Jeep, Kolcraft and more.

The play yards recalled were sold over a nine year period, from January 2000 through January of this year. We don’t know when Kolcraft began getting reports of product failures and why it took that long and over 300 incidents to announce the recall. It is also unclear what the ‘repair kit’ is that the company will supply on request. KID believes that sleep environment recalls should always give parents the option of a refund or replacement product.

Kolcraft has previous history with a collapsing side rail play yard — The Playskool Travel-Lite. This is the product that collapsed and killed Danny Keysar, whose parents founded Kids In Danger. Danny was one of six children to die in the Playskool Travel Lite and one of seventeen known deaths in play yards with the same faulty design.

This latest recall comes on the heels of a string of crib recalls. It leaves parents with a real dilemma as to where their child should sleep while they await a new crib or a repair kit for their play yard/portable crib. KID has some advice for safe sleep here (PDF) and advises parents that keeping a child in a recalled product should not be done — the risk is too great.

These recalls highlight the need for the provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that call for stronger mandatory standards for infant and toddler durable products such as cribs and play yards. CPSC has begun that process, but we believe these new recalls should encourage the agency to make sleep environment standards a top priority.