In the broken record category, we had another major crib recall last week. A company called Stork Craft Manufacturing, Inc. has recalled 2.1 million cribs. The cribs were manufactured beginning in 1993, and have been sold by retailers such as Wal-Mart, BabiesRUs, K-Mart and Sears (among others). Some of these cribs have the Fischer Price brand on them, and come in many different styles and finishes. For more information, go to the CPSC page on the recall, or go to the Stork Craft site via the link above.
This is not one of those recalls where a potential safety problem was discovered, and the recall occurred before anyone was hurt. Here, four infants died, including a six month old in West Virginia. These deaths are absolutely senseless. First, it appears that this company has had hundreds of complaints about these cribs – why did it take so long for this recall to occur? Second, why is it so hard to design a safe crib? The hardware used to assemble these cribs is cheaply made, and therefore breaks easily. This permits the drop side component of the crib to become loose, and enables a child to become entrapped between the drop-side and the mattress. Once that happens, a baby can suffocate. There are numerous crib designs that address this potential hazard, and in my opinion this company decided to cut corners to increase the profitability of the cribs.
As an aside, I have raised four babies, and each had a crib with a drop-side. I don’t think I ever actually used this feature, and my wife has only done so a couple of times. If I were purchasing a crib now, I would consider buying one without a drop-side – it introduces a movable part into the crib, and as a result there is an increased opportunity for malfunction.