Thursday, December 9, 2010

CPSC set to vote on final new crib standards

At this week's CPSC Commission meeting, staff presented a briefing on the new rules for full-size and non-full-size cribs. There were few changes from the earlier proposed rules. These new rules put many important 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 much more rigorous testing for slat strength, durability and mattress support strength. The series of testing is done on one crib to simulate a life-time use of a crib. 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, the largest number of injuries come from children falling out of cribs.
  • For the first time, efforts will begin immediately to get the older unsafe cribs off store shelves, out of child care homes and out of use. A portion of the CPSIA requires that cribs that don't meet the new standard can't be sold -- new or used, used in child care, be given to hotel guests or used in other public accommodations. This measure alone will go far in removing unsafe cribs from use. This does not apply to already purchased cribs being used in private homes, except for barring their resale. CPSC staff is recommending that child care facilities have one year from the approval of the new rule to replace any non-compliant cribs. CPSC has indicated that cribs currently being manufactured and tested that meet the new standard can continue to be used, even though their sale took place prior to the new rule being official.
At the briefing on Wednesday, most of the questions were centered around that provision -- that older cribs that don't meet the current standard not be used in child care. While the commissioners all want to see safe cribs in child care and all settings, there was concern expressed over the cost and timeline.

That provision in the CPSIA was first proposed by the Danny Foundation as a way to remove cribs from use that were unsafe. The Danny Foundation (now closed, but supporters went on to start Keeping Babies Safe) was founded by the parents of Danny Lineweaver who strangled when his clothing was caught on a crib cornerpost. The Foundation and its executive director Jack Walsh worked tirelessly to add safety provisions to the voluntary crib standard -- many of which are now in this proposed mandatory standard.

So for now, the vote is scheduled for next Wednesday, December 15 at 10AM EST. However, commissioners have the prerogative to postpone the vote by a week, so we'll keep you posted!

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