Drop-side cribs were one of the most popular crib designs, thanks to the convenience offered by having one side that can be lowered to allow parents better access to their baby. However, crib safety issues have brought about stronger crib safety regulations that ban the manufacture of drop-side cribs.
Drop-Side Cribs Can No Longer Be Manufactured or Sold
According to the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission):
"Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The new rules, which apply to full-size and non full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and require more rigorous testing. The details of the rule are available on CPSC’s website at www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr11/cribfinal.pdf. The new rules also apply to cribs currently in use at child care centers and places of public accommodation. By December 28, 2012, these facilities must use only compliant cribs that meet the new federal safety standards."
Some of the Safety Issues With Drop-Side Cribs
- Plastic drop-side hardware can break or warp.
- Some types of soft wood could allow the hardware to come loose faster.
- Many parents install the drop-side upside-down, which can increase wear on hardware.
- Drop side pieces go missing over time and the cribs aren't re-assembled properly.
All of these issues can allow a gap to form between the crib mattress and part of the drop side. As a result, babies can become trapped and suffocate in that gap.
Drop-Side Crib Recalls
According to CPSC's recall archives, more than 20 different crib recalls were issued between 2007 and 2011.
These recalls affected more than 11 million cribs from many different manufacturers. While the specific reasons for recall vary, nearly all of the recalls were issued because a durability or hardware problem created a gap in the crib where a child could become entrapped or suffocate.
In April 2009, Toys R Us announced that its stores would no longer order drop-side cribs because of the safety issues they present. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Toys R Us Chief Executive Jerry Storch said, "There are enough concerns raised about drop-side cribs that we're moving forward and we're going to phase them out."
Drop-Side Crib Legality
As of December 29, 2012, drop-side cribs are flat-out illegal to manufacture, sell or donate. If you still have one:
- Check the CPSC website to see if your baby's crib has been recalled. Get a repair kit or exchange the crib if it is under recall. Do not try to repair a recalled crib on your own.
- Make sure that your baby's crib is assembled correctly and works properly.
- Check crib hardware periodically to be sure it hasn't loosened, broken or gone missing.
- If you buy a used crib, be certain all of the hardware and parts are included and find an instruction book if there isn't one with the crib.