Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
On Friday, Sept, 21, 2007, the Consumer Products Safety Commission issued the largest crib recall to date. One million cribs were recalled because of defective parts that trapped and killed children. A crib should be the safest place to sleep imaginable, we tell ourselves. Cribs are the only baby products manufactured with the intention of leaving a child unattended. Therefore, every necessary measure should be taken to ensure that the crib is the safest possible environment. Unfortunately: Every year, approximately 17 infants die, and another 11,100 are hospitalized from injuries sustained in cribs. Most crib deaths occur in second-hand or hand-me-down cribs. Nearly four million babies are born in the United States every year, but just over one million cribs are sold. Thus, many infants are placed in used cribs. Carefully follow the checklists below to ensure your child's safety. Crib design checklist No older or used cribs with decorative cutouts - Grandparents love to provide such cribs for family visits to their home: however, many of these older cribs are unsafe, and many contain lead paint. Check for recalls - Even if a crib is still on the market, it does not mean it is safe. Go to www.cpsc.gov and you will find a directory of products, including cribs, and how they are ranked. Spaces between slats are safe - Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. All cribs manufactured after 1974 should meet this strict safety requirement, but measure, nonetheless. No missing slats - Missing slats can cause the child's head to become stuck, creating a lack of oxygen causing brain damage or death. Corner posts no more than 1/6-inch higher than the end panels - Children's clothes can easily get caught on anything higher. Top rails must be high - When in position, they should be at least 26 inches above the top of the mattress. This assures the child will not be able to climb or fall out. Height needs to be addressed with growth - As soon as children can pull themselves up to a standing position, set and keep the mattress at its lowest position. Stop using the crib once the height of the top rails is less than three-fourths of the child's height. Mattress checklist Mattress must fit tightly into the crib - No more than two fingers should fit between the edge of the mattress and the crib. No plastic packaging materials - Do not use any artificial coverings such as dry-cleaning bags. Plastic can cling to the child's face and should never be used anywhere near the crib. Crib hardware checklist Drop latches must be too difficult for a child to release. For more information about the Crib Recall on September 21, 2007 and other recalls, visit www.cpsc.gov and look in the recalls section.
Don Keenan, founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, has published a book on child safety titled, 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, which is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.