Friday, April 30, 2010

Print and Post this important flyer

Once again, the Illinois Attorney General's office is taking the lead on children's product safety and has put together this flyer (Spanish) on the hazards of drop-side cribs. Kids in Danger and many other child safety and health organizations have signed on.

Print this out and post at child care facilities, church or synagogue nurseries, parenting sites, schools and where ever else parents and caregivers gather.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Simplicity cribs recalled..again

This is the second of two crib recalls today. Info on the LaJobi recall is here.

It is surprising there are any Simplicity products left 'unrecalled,' but apparently there are. CPSC today announced that retailers who sold Simplicity cribs with tubular metal mattress supports are recalling those cribs -- no one really knows how many since Simplicity itself is out of business. Some of these cribs have been previously recalled for other issues.

On these cribs, the metal mattress support can bend, deform, break or come unattached, creating an entrapment hazard. A one year old baby died in April 2008 after becoming entrapped. CPSC has at least 13 other reports on the products. But again, without Simplicity For Children company records the number of complaints and injuries could be much higher.

Fortunately retailers have risen to the occasion to offer consumers a replacement crib, refund or store credit. We wish more manufacturers would follow their lead instead of offering repair kits. Consumers should contact the store where they purchased the product to learn more.

This recall highlights that the problems with crib integrity and durability go beyond drop-side hardware. New standards being drafted by ASTM International include more testing for mattress support durability. It is believed the CPSC will incorporate those new requirements into mandatory crib standards to be adopted this year.

Consumers who have these cribs should stop using them immediately and arrange for an alternative safe sleeping environment for their baby. While this blog post deals with drop-side cribs, the advice on finding a place for your baby to sleep is relevant here as well.

If you have a Simplicity crib, play yard or bassinet (and remember some carried the Graco or Fisher Price name); we recommend you stop using it. Check to see if it is recalled and there is a retailer or licensed recall that might provide a replacement. If not, destroy the product to avoid having someone else find and use it.

LaJobi Cribs, sold under the Graco name, recalled today

This is the first of two crib recalls today. You can find more on the other here.

LaJobi and CPSC announced the recall today of 217,000 Graco-branded drop-side cribs sold since February 2007. As with the other 7 million drop-side cribs recalled in the past several years, the hardware on these can break or become loose, allowing the railing to separate from the crib, causing an entrapment and suffocation hazard. Two children were entrapped, but freed by caregivers and six children fell when the rail detached, leading to one concussion.

These are out of 99 reports to CPSC and LaJobi. But what about to Graco? Most consumers with this crib would assume they had bought a Graco crib. But consumers tell us when they call Graco about a licensed crib, they are told Graco can't help them -- it wasn't their crib. Huh? So where are those calls recorded?

LaJobi will send out a repair kit that converts the crib to a fixed sided crib. As we have said before, we believe that in sleep environment recalls, the manufacturers owe consumers a replacement product or a refund. No one will sleep well knowing they put new hardware on a crib recalled because the old hardware failed! And note that these are not old, handed down cribs. Most are less then three years old, some sold as recently as this month!

We recommend parents avoid drop-side cribs. See our advice on what to do if you have one here.

We recommend manufacturers refund money for parents whose new crib falls apart.

And we recommend Graco consider stop selling their name to the lowest bidder! Both cribs recalled today include some with the Graco name affixed as do many other cribs and bassinets by Simplicity that have been recalled previously.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What’s the Deal with Drop-side Cribs?

What is a drop-side crib?

A drop-side crib is a crib in which the side rail moves up and down on tracks to allow easier access to the child. The tracks can be in the end posts or attached to the end post with plastic or metal hardware. A drop-gate crib, where the top several inches of the crib side fold out and down is not a drop-side and not subject to the same problems.

What are the problems?

Drop-side cribs have been involved in dozens of deaths over the past 15 years. Hardware breaks or becomes loose and a dangerous gap is created where babies can become entrapped and suffocate or strangle. Sometimes the breakage happens when poor instructions or design allow the side rail to be installed upside down or backwards. Other times, parts such as safety pegs, screws, or the plastic track become loose or fall out. Sometimes, when the crib breaks, parents attempt to fix it, which can be dangerous as well. This product failure is so deadly because cribs are the one product intended to be used with the child unattended. The breakage and entrapment can happen quickly, while parents are not in the room.

As a result, and as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) learns of the deaths, millions of drop-side cribs have been recalled. These include Storkcraft (also under the Fisher Price name), Delta, Simplicity (also under the Graco name), Lajobi (under the Bonavita or Babi Italia names), Generation 2, ChilDESIGNS, Dorel Asia and Caramia. But millions more drop-side cribs, some of which have had incidents, are still in the marketplace. Both recalled and non-recalled drop-side cribs are still in wide use in homes and child care facilities.

What is being done about this danger?

In part due to the frightening aspect of millions of unsafe cribs after the first of many Simplicity recalls in 2007, Congress enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in 2008. This law, among many vital safety measures, requires that CPSC develop and implement a strong mandatory standard for cribs and other durable infant and toddler products and require third party testing to certify compliance to those standards. Already the voluntary ASTM standard has been changed to require the bottom part of all sides to be firmly fixed to the end posts – a design that disallows drop-sides -- and it is expected that the mandatory standard will also include that ban. Major retailers, including Babies”R”Us, have already stopped selling the design.

What should I do…

…If I’m about to buy a crib?

If you are getting ready to buy a crib, do not buy a drop-side crib. Cribs that are lower to the ground or have a drop-gate can help parents who feel it would be difficult to reach into a fixed side crib. When purchasing any crib, check that it meets the most current safety standards and feels sturdy in the store. Buy a mattress that fits snugly in the crib and tight fitting sheets. If considering a used or hand-me down crib, do not use a drop-side crib and only take a used crib when you know its history, have all the parts and instructions and know it can be assembled correctly. It is better, especially now when new standards are so much stronger than the standards of just a year or two ago, to buy a new crib.

…Already have a drop-side in use

First, check the list at and make sure your crib hasn’t been recalled – millions have. Check the list carefully – many cribs might be known by a name other than their brand name, or made by one company and sold under another company’s name. If it doubt, get the model name and number and manufacturer name and call CPSC to confirm. If it has been recalled, follow the recall instructions to get a repair kit, replace the crib or receive a refund.

If your crib is not recalled, check all the hardware and plastic parts to make sure it is all tight and there are no broken, cracked or missing pieces. The crib should feel sturdy when you shake it and you should not be able to lower the drop-side by any means other than the manufacturer’s instructed method. If your crib shows any breakage or you can move the drop-side without following the correct method, STOP using the crib. Call the company to see if replacement parts are available and do not use the crib until new parts are correctly installed. If the crib doesn’t have replacement parts, stop using it and call both the company and CPSC to report the breakage. Never attempt to fix the crib yourself without the correct hardware and instructions from the manufacturer.

If your crib has no broken, cracked or missing parts and feels sturdy, continue to use it until the child can transition to a bed, but stop using the drop-side mechanism and check frequently – at least once a week -- for loose, broken, cracked or missing hardware or parts. However, do not use the crib for a subsequent child or hand it down since assembly and disassembly of a drop-side crib can increase the risk of failure. It may be worth the peace of mind to purchase a new crib.

My crib is recalled or unsafe – what do I do with my child?

This is the hardest thing about recalled or unsafe cribs. While with toys or other products we can recommend taking it away and waiting for the replacement; with cribs, you need a safe place for your baby to sleep – tonight! So, what are your options? First, if your baby is still young enough that he or she can’t roll over or push up on hands and knees, you can use a bassinet you might have been using earlier. Another option is a portable crib or play yard that you use while traveling – first making sure it hasn’t been recalled. Never put a baby to sleep on a couch, chair, adult bed or other surface that might be too soft or have cushions or other features that can smother or entrap a baby. If your baby is older, perhaps almost ready to transition to a youth bed or regular bed, you might try a mattress on the floor to avoid falls. The only option might be to purchase a new crib or portable crib. If a new safe crib is a financial hardship, consider contacting Keeping Babies Safe or First Candle to see if you qualify for their crib programs.

Learn more at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another SlingRider death reported

When CPSC recalled the Infantino SlingRider infant sling last month, they reported 3 deaths from the product in 2009. A Brooklyn mother has now come forward to say her baby also died in the sling, a month before the recall.

While the Infantino sling was recalled, other 'bag style' slings are still on the market. KID warns against their use. Other methods of 'babywearing' are available, including soft infant carriers that are tested to a voluntary standard and wraps and slings that allow a baby to be carried in an upright position. Check our some of our earlier blog posts for more information on sling use.

As for Infantino, this wasn't their first recall or even first sling recall. The SlingRider had been recalled earlier because a plastic part could break, causing the baby to fall and the company has six other recalls for choking and lacerations hazards in toys.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Best Friend Award: Honoring Dr. Gary Smith

On Wednesday, April 21, 2010, Kids In Danger will present the Best Friend Award to Dr. Gary Smith for his pioneering work in the field of childhood injury prevention.

The event reception includes exciting live and silent auctions. You can bid on 'on-the-glass' tickets to Saturday, April 24th BlackHawks play-off game, a four night stay at an Irish B&B, an autographed bat from Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot, private tours, wine tastings, baseball tickets, museum memberships and more! NBC Chicago’s very own Marion Brooks will be our Emcee. Marion did one of the first news stories on Kids In Danger and we are excited to work with her again!

Click here to learn more or purchase event tickets for $125 or to become a sponsor for $1,000! Raffle tickets are also available for purchase. Tickets are one for $5 or six for $25. This year's raffle features ten prize baskets including cash prizes of $500 and $250, fitness classes, memberships, gift certificates and more!

The Best Friend Award Night is a wonderful way to celebrate the work of Kids In Danger, salute our honoree and remember Danny Keysar and other victims of unsafe children's products. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Update on YO-YO BALLS

In the early 2000s, the CPSC received hundreds of reports of cords attached to yo-yo water balls wrapping around children’s heads or necks.

One Chicago-area mom, Lisa Lipin, launched a campaign and website to get the products banned. They are banned in New York, New Jersey and Illinois. CPSC never took action against the product, although the Chairman at the time, Hal Stratton, indicated he would not let his children play with the toy. Since then the group setting voluntary standards for toys instituted a test that won't allow a string-length more than 20 inches (stretched), limiting the possibility of the cord wrapping around a child’s neck. Injuries have dropped dramatically. As of February 2009, this limit in the yo-yo ball’s cord length became a mandatory rule in the United States. CPSC recently put out a new statement, reminding parents to cut the cord off any of the older toys they might have or throw the toy away. KID urges parents not to allow children to use yo-yo balls with long cords and report it to CPSC if you see any for sale.

Safe Sleep Poster from CPSC

The CPSC has released a new Safe Sleep Neighborhood Safety Network Poster in English and Spanish. The poster contains important safe sleep tips for babies and warns against the use of sleep positioners as unnecessary and potentially dangerous. This poster will be distributed as a part of Chairman Tenenbaum’s priority Safe Sleep campaign. KID will include this poster in our safe sleep information as well.

Here are the poster's tips:
  • Place infants to sleep on their backs
  • Use firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • Never use extra padding, blankets or pillows under baby
  • Remove pillows or thick comforters
  • Positioning devices are not necessary and can be deadly
  • Regularly check crib for loose, missing or broken parts or slats
  • Do not try to fix a broken crib
  • Place cribs or playpens away from windows to avoid window covering or fall hazards.

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