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Drop-Side Cribs

Every parent does whatever they can to keep their babies safe. However, some products are dangerous for babies. Drop-side cribs have caused thousands of injuries and dozens of infant deaths in the United States over the past several years.

Although companies designed drop-side cribs to make it easier for parents to place infants in and out of the cribs, they pose a risk to infants and toddlers. As a result, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a complete ban on these popular cribs in June 2011.

Just because these cribs were banned does not mean people don't still use them. Some people still have a drop-side crib from when their first children were born. Others have passed their cribs on to friends and family members who are still using them.

This section will explain what a drop-side crib is and why they're so dangerous. It will also discuss the recalls and banning of these types of cribs. Finally, this page will explain what to do if a drop-side crib injures your child and how to increase crib safety.

What Is a Drop-Side Crib?

Drop-side cribs make it easier for parents to get their infants in and out of their cribs. The sides of the crib slide down so parents can easily reach inside to lift their child out. Placing a sleeping child in the crib is also easier because parents can lower the side panel.

Some of the more popular American designers of cribs with drop-side rails included:

  • Graco
  • Alexander Designs
  • StorkCraft
  • Pottery Barn
  • Evenflo
  • Lajobi
  • Ikea
  • West Elm

You won't find these cribs in stores today. When the CPSC banned the drop-side cribs, stores like Walmart and Babies-R-Us stopped selling them. It is also illegal to donate these cribs.

Dangers of Drop-Side Cribs

The unique drop-down design feature that allows one or both sides of the crib to slide up and down has hidden hazards that can cause strangulation or suffocation. In some cases, the crib caused fatalities.

The main dangers involve drop-side hardware that can slip or break, causing a gap between the crib mattress and slats. Infants can get stuck or trapped. This entrapment can lead to suffocation, physical injuries, and other trauma.

Similar problems occur when crib pieces go missing, or parents don't assemble the cribs correctly. This happens despite warnings by the CPSC not to use cribs with broken, lost, or missing parts.

Also, drop-side cribs purchased at garage sales or through online classified ads may be missing screws, bolts, and necessary safety instructions, contributing to infant injuries.

Drop-Side Crib Recalls

The CPSC ordered a recall of more than 11 million drop-side since 2007. Most of the recalls were due to defects in design. See the Consumer Products Safety Commission's Crib Information Center for information on specific defective crib recalls.

A design defect exists when a product manufacturer could have avoided a faulty design by using an alternative design. Other defects include manufacturing defects and failure to warn issues.

Were Manufacturers Required To Notify Consumers About the Recall?

As with any other product safety recall, the manufacturers of drop-side cribs had to notify consumers about the dangers of their product. If the manufacturer had records of all buyers, they would have to inform them directly. If they did not have access to this information, the company would have to issue a public notice of the safety issues.

Drop-Side Crib Ban

In 2011, the CPSC voted unanimously to ban drop-side cribs based on the potential for severe injury and death to infants and toddlers. Under the new rules, federal regulators:

  • Stopped the manufacture, sale, and resale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs
  • Demanded stronger mattress supports
  • Insisted that crib hardware be more durable
  • Made safety testing more rigorous

These rules apply to existing drop-side crib owners, manufacturers, retail establishments, and providers of drop-side cribs. This includes motels, hospitals, and daycare facilities. They also forbid the resale and donation of used drop-side cribs.

What Can Parents Do?

Although cribs with drop-side panels offer convenience to parents, they aren't safe. There are plenty of safe baby cribs on the market.

To reduce the potential hazards of your drop-side crib, check the CPSC website or the website of the crib's manufacturer for specific instructions on obtaining a free repair kit. All drop-side crib manufacturers must offer free repair kits to crib owners.

If you want to stop using your drop-side cribs altogether, here are some helpful alternatives:

  • Crib with a Sliding Panel: Some manufacturers, like Babee Tenda and Innovation Crib Designs, have designed cribs with a sliding side panel to ease infants in and out.
  • Fixed-Rail Crib: These traditional cribs vary by manufacturer and range in features, functionality, and stability.
  • Step Stool: A sturdy wooden step stool in front of a crib can help parents reach their infant. This is especially helpful for parents who are shorter than average.

With any crib, check the manufacturer's warning instructions before using it.

Filing a Drop-Side Crib Claim? Contact an Experienced Attorney

No parent should lose a child due to a defective product. Your child should be safe sleeping in a crib that meets all safety standards. You may need to sue the manufacturer if your child is injured while in a drop-side crib or other children's product. An experienced attorney can help you do this.

Contact an experienced product liability attorney today.

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