Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
How many babies have to die in their cribs before the government will take notice? On Oct. 20, one of the largest crib recalls ever was announced. Roughly 1.6 million Delta Enterprises cribs were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after two 8-month-old infants suffocated. The danger was posed when the babies became trapped in a gap created after the "Crib Trigger Lock with Spring Peg" drop side came off of its guide track. The worst part is - those are just two recent incidents, preceded by dozens in 2008 alone.
In response, the CPSC said they are considering new rules covering crib defects - especially after its Early Warning System found concerns with the durability of cribs with drop sides like those recalled from Delta Enterprises. Don Keenan said the new rule consideration is long overdue. 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 death are preventable. "A crib should be the safest place to sleep imaginable, we tell ourselves," said Keenan, who is also the author of 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe. "Cribs are the only baby product manufactured with the intention of leaving a child unattended and for this reason, every necessary measure should be taken to ensure the crib is the safest possible environment." Recently, New York company Playkids USA recalled 2,000 portable cribs after the death of a 5-month-old, while dozens of retailers 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 Monday. After the tremendous recall, the CPSC said they plan to do more with their performance requirements to help strengthen the problems identified by the Early Warning System. But 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." While Monday's recall does not affect cribs now in retail inventory, Keenan stresses that it doesn't mean every crib on the market should automatically be considered safe. He recommends using the Crib Design Checklist provided in 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, which recommends: Consistently looking for updated recall information such as the one publicized about Delta Enterprises; 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 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; and not utilize any artificial coverings because they can cling to a child's face and should be kept away from a crib at all times. Also remember drop latches need to be too difficult for a child to release in order to be considered safe. Parents with the Delta Enterprises cribs should contact the company, who is issuing replacement safety pegs or spring peg kits. They can be reached at (800) 816-5304, or log onto www.cribrecallcenter.com to order a free repair kit. 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.