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Greg Webb
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Crib Recalls 2010-2011: Why Can’t Manufacturers Get It Right?

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During the past year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has initiated recalls of baby cribs, both drop-sided and non-drop-sided cribs. The recalls have also involved crib mattresses and hardware. Many of the recalled cribs were manufactured in the U.S. but others have been manufactured, or their parts manufactured, overseas – e.g., China.

Baby cribs are used by the most vulnerable in our society—why is it that manufacturers can’t seem to get it right and that our children’s lives are risked by putting cribs on the market whose safety standards are unacceptable in the first place? Where is product testing when it comes to infants’ and children’s furniture? Why is it taking so long for companies to define, adopt and implement standards of excellence that prevent dangerous children’s furniture from reaching the marketplace at all?

In April 2010, Graco recalled 217,000 Graco-Branded drop-side cribs distributed by LaJobi of Cranberry, New Jersey, from the marketplace, Graco-LaJobi received 99 reports of drop-side crib incidents where the hardware became disengaged and the drop-side detached and six reports of children falling when the drop-side became detached. The cribs were manufactured in China and VietNam and sold for between $140 and $200.

April 29, 2010, All models of Simplicity cribs were recalled by retailers and the U.S. CPSC; no total number of cribs is available as Simplicity and its successor, SFCA, Inc., went out of business. The cribs were both drop-side and non-drop sided and the recall was also due to the fact that the “crib’s tubular metal mattress-support frame can bend or detach and cause part of the mattress to collapse, creating a space into which an infant or toddler can roll and become wedged, entrapped or fall out of the crib.” The death of a one-year old child was reported.

In May 2010, C&T International/Sorelle of East Rutherford, New Jersey, recalled 170,000 drop-side cribs from the marketplace because the hardware on the cribs could disengage from the tracks, causing the drop side to become detached and “creating a space between the drop-side and the crib mattress”—where an infant or toddler could become entrapped and could suffocate or strangle. The cribs were manufactured in Italy, Latvia, Brazil, China and VietNam.

June 24, 2010, Simmons Juvenile Products of New London, Wisconsin, recalled 50,000 drop-side cribs manufactured in the U.S., Indonesia, Croatia, Canada, and China, due to entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards. Simmons received 30 reports of drop-sides that malfunctioned and two reports of children becoming entrapped.

October 22, 2010, Victory Land Group of Bartlett, Illinois, recalls 34,000 Heritage 3-in-1 drop side cribs sold by K-Mart as the drop-side rail can malfunction causing a child to become entrapped or fall. CPSC and Victory received 17 reports of incidents involving these cribs.

Victory would provide a repair kit. The cribs were manufactured in VietNam.

Jump to 2011 and the recent U.S. CPSC and manufacturers’ voluntary recalls of 500,000 Burlington Bassinets (made in Burlington, Iowa) due to the possibility of falls (in and out of the bassinet) and IKEA’s 28,000 Sniglar cribs (made in Romania) due to the possibility of collapse, entrapment and suffocation of an infant or toddler.

Have crib manufacturers learned anything? These are not complex engineering endeavors – cribs. So, why the problem? Why the shortcuts?