On December 15, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) adopted new rules that set strong mandatory standards for cribs and portable cribs. These new standards are now the strongest in the world and will provide assurance to parents that when they buy a new crib; it will keep their child safe. This Q&A attempts to answer questions parents and caregivers may have regarding these ground-breaking rules.
Q. Why do we need a new crib standard?
A. Following recent years of recalls of millions of cribs due to entrapment deaths and injuries, the new standards will ensure that new cribs have been tested for safety to rigorous standards. Many babies were killed or injured in unsafe cribs.
Q. What do the new standards cover?
A. The new rules put many new tests and requirements in place:
- Cribs with full side drop-sides will not be allowed — the bottom 20″ of the crib rail must be fixed to eliminate the entrapment hazards seen when the hardware fails.
- All cribs must undergo rigorous testing for slat strength, durability and mattress support strength. The series of testing is conducted on one crib to simulate a life-time of use. This is the key to the new standard. Most of the 10 million cribs recalled since 2007 were able to meet the weak industry standards that were in place.
- Warnings and labeling have been improved, both to make parents more aware of when a crib is mis-assembled and to alert them to developmental signs to stop using a crib (when the child attempts to climb out). While most attention has been rightly focused on entrapment deaths in cribs, most injuries are as a result of children falling out of cribs.
Q. What types of cribs do these standards and rules cover?
A. The new standards include two sets of similar rules: one for full-size cribs and one for non-full-size cribs. Non-full-size cribs can be smaller, larger or a different shape than a full-size crib, which is a standardized shape and size. The rules do not cover mesh sided play yards or portable cribs, only those with rigid sides such as wood or metal cribs. CPSC will be developing a standard for play yards, but it won’t apply to child care as these do.
A. The new crib standards will be effective in six months. At this time, new and used cribs for sale will have to meet the standards. Then, child care providers and hotels and other public accommodations will have an additional 18 months to replace their non-compliant cribs. By January 2013, all child care facilities should have compliant and safe cribs. Many providers will be able to comply sooner.
A. No, the new rules have no impact on use of your own cribs at home. However, it will be illegal to sell older model cribs after the effective date in six months. Here is some information on what to do if you are using a drop-side or other older model crib at home:
A. Many new cribs are lower to the ground and easier to reach into to pick up or lay down your baby. Another option is a drop-gate cribs in which just the top section of the side rail folds down, allowing easier access. And if you feel you do need a stool for access, consider using a wide stable step such as those for step aerobics classes.