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When Crib Shopping, Beware of those Scary Recall Histories

By Valerie Baldowski
When Crib Shopping, Beware of those Scary Recall Histories

Parents-to-be are swamped with details to take care of before the baby arrives, and one of the most important detail is finding just the right crib. That’s no easy task considering the numerous recalls that have been issued over the years on a number of cribs for various reasons. Proper research will help narrow down the field.

The crib Aunt Martha used to put little cousin Betty Lou to bed every night may not be safe anymore. Older cribs may need repairs, and older models might not meet more stringent federal standards. The sale of drop-side cribs has been banned outright, and not even thrift stores or consignment shops can accept them any more. The best bet is to buy new. There are some safety tips to follow when shopping for cribs.

  • One of the most obvious tips is to avoid buying any cribs with a recall history. For example, in May 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of 22,000 Dream on Me Full Size and Portable Drop Side cribs because the drop side rail hardware can break, allowing the drop side to detach from the crib. In April the CPSC announced a recall of more than 300 ducduc Fixed Side cribs because the bottom rails can separate from the sides when the mattress is in the lowest position, causing the mattress to fall.
  • The crib slats should be no farther apart than 2 3/8 of an inch. Older cribs are more likely to have slats that are too widely spaced, making it easier for a baby to get wedged in between them.
  • Make sure the paint isn’t chipped or peeling. A hand-me-down crib could have fancy finials, cutouts or scrollwork that could trap a baby or snag his clothes. Plus, it could be coated in lead paint.
  • Checking the crib for cracks and splinters, as well as screws or bolts protruding that could injure the baby, is a smart idea. Also, remove decorations, ribbons or bows that an inquisitive baby can pull off and put in her mouth.
  • If the crib has corner posts with knobs, they should be at least 16 inches above the end panels. Ensuring they are high enough will prevent the child from reaching the top and getting his pajamas caught.
  • Some even advise against the use of crib bumpers. Their argument is that babies can’t hurt themselves on the crib slats, but can suffocate nestled up against the bumpers. Plus, active infants can become entangled in the bumper ties.
  • Checking the hardware to make sure nothing is loose and there are no missing pieces is a good safety measure to ensure nothing falls or collapses. Also, make sure the fitted sheet and mattress are the proper size. There should be a snug fit between the mattress and the crib frame. The mattress should be 27 ¼ inches by 51 5/8 inches, and no more than six inches thick.
  • Also, as the baby grows the mattress will need to be adjusted. With newborns, the mattress can be at the highest setting to make it easy to reach into the crib. As the child grows and gets taller, and especially when they are able to sit up and pull themselves to a standing position on the crib rails, the mattress level should be lowered. When the baby is finally able to climb out and “escape,” it’s time to convert the crib to a toddler bed. Most full size cribs can be converted into a toddler bed, and eventually into a full size bed.
Valerie Baldowski is passionate about writing about everything from childrens safety and juvenile products to gardening tools. She is the mother of a high energy 8 year old child so she is accustomed to researching childrens products and services… See more about Valerie

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