SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to baby cribs sold in stores and even yard sales, drop-side cribs are now illegal. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced new regulations Tuesday that will make cribs a safer place for babies to sleep.
Rebecca Black is a mom to 10-month-old Griffin. "The one place that we don't supervise every second is in the crib," she said.
While she strives to make the world as safe as she can for him, one of the biggest dangers is right at home.
"Over the past several years we've had numerous fatalities from children getting their head stuck between the crib rail as it drops and the mattress," explained Janet Brooks, child advocacy manager for Primary Children's Medical Center.
"When you hear that there have actually been deaths from cribs such as this it really strikes a chord, and it hits home," Black said. "We can replace any piece of furniture, we can't replace a child."
According to Brooks, in 2009, nearly 15,000 children received injuries in a crib. More than 100 of them died.
Drop-side cribs with detaching side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000, the CPSC said.
The new regulations are aimed at preventing such tragedies.
"A safe crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. It is for this reason that I am so pleased that parents, grandparents and caregivers now can shop with confidence and purchase cribs that meet the most stringent crib standards in the world," said Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of CPSC. "From the start, our goal has been to prevent deaths and injuries to babies in cribs, and now the day has come where only stronger and safer cribs are available for consumers to purchase."
Starting Tuesday, it is illegal for any retailer or any private individual to sell a crib that doesn't meet new criteria. Cribs must have:
No drop-down sides
Strengthened crib slats
Strengthened mattress support
Include anti-loosening devices
If you were to buy a crib today, legally it has to meet the standard, but for those who already have a crib at home?
"The best thing would be is to contact the manufacturer, make arrangements to receive the additional part that goes on your crib that will immobilize the side rail," Brooks said.
CPSC has recalled more than 11 million cribs since 2007. If you've got a crib in your home right now, check its manufacturer's website to make sure it hasn't been recalled.
Safety experts say you should also check cribs often to ensure there are no parts missing, broken or loose, and check that all hardware is tightly secured.
Child-care facilities, including family child-care homes and infant Head Start centers, as well as places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, and rental companies have until Dec. 28, 2012, to comply with the new crib standards.
For more information on these new crib safety regulations go to cpsc.gov.
Contributing: Ashley Kewish