Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
More than half-a-million cribs were recalled by Stork Craft and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Tuesday, Jan. 13. The "voluntary" recall comes as a result of Stork cribs' metal support bracket, used to support the crib mattress and mattress board, which can crack and break causing the mattress to collapse and create a dangerous gap. Ten incidents were already reported and the worst part is-this is 10 recent incidents, preceded by dozens in 2008 alone. Don Keenan, a nationally recognized child advocate attorney and founder of the Atlanta-based Keenan's Kids Foundation, a non-profit child safety organization, believes these crib deaths are preventable. "A crib should be the safest place to sleep imaginable," said Keenan, author of "365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe." "Cribs are the only baby product manufactured with the intention of leaving a child unattended. Because of this, every necessary measure should be taken to ensure the crib is the safest possible environment." This recall of roughly 535,000 products is one of the first in the New Year-following millions of crib product recalls within the past two years. Oct. 2008, 1.6 million Delta Enterprise cribs were recalled along with 2,000 portable cribs from New York-based company, Playkids USA. Meanwhile, dozens of retailers had recalled defective Simplicity bassinets in August, preceded by 1 million Simplicity cribs in Sept. 2007, which was previously the biggest crib recall until Delta Enterprises. After these recalls, the CPSC said they planned to do more with their performance requirements to help strengthen the problems. But Keenan said it has to start with parents first. "The bottom line is that the government cannot be depended upon to protect," he said, "and it isn't safe to assume a crib is safe without carefully checking it periodically to make sure all its parts are in proper working order." Keenan stressed that whether your child's crib has been recalled or not, not every crib on the market should automatically be considered safe. He recommended using the following Crib Design Checklist, from "365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe": Consistently looking for updated recall information; Not using older cribs because they can be unsafe and many contain lead paint; Checking for missing slats and not purchasing a crib with slats more than two-and-three-eighths inches apart; Ensuring the crib's corner posts are no more than one-sixth of an inch higher than the end panels of the crib and the top rails are at least 26 inches above the top of the mattress, ensuring the child cannot fall out; and Parents should address height as the child grows, because once the height of the top rail is less than three-fourths the child's height, the crib should no longer be used. When considering a crib's mattress, parents should make sure the mattress fits tightly and no more than two fingers can fit between the edge of the mattress and the crib. Also remember drop latches need to be too difficult for a child to release in order to be considered safe. This week's "voluntary" recall asked consumers owning any style of a Stork Craft Baby Crib purchased between May 2000 and Jan. 2009 to "stop using recalled products immediately." The cribs were available at J.C. Penny, Kmart and Walmart stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, BabiesRUs.com, Costco.com and Walmart.com for between $100 and $400. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free replacement kit, with new mattress-support brackets, by calling toll-free at (866) 361-3321 to order the free replacement kit or log on to www.storkcraft.com. Don Keenan is the founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to child safety. Visit www.keenanskidsfoundation.com to find out more. Keenan's book "365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe" is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.