Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is concerned about possible
accidental death or injury to young children in cribs that are in
need of repair. The CPSC has investigated or received reports of
numerous incidents in which cribs have come apart. Many of these
resulted in death.
For example, a 5-month-old infant died when he became lodged between
the mattress and the side rail of his crib. A support hanger on
the mattress frame had come off the hook attached to the crib end
panel or corner post creating a space in which the infantís head
became entrapped. In another accident, a 6-month-old baby became
entrapped and choked to death when screws securing the side rail
pulled loose from the corner post of the crib creating a space between
the rail and the mattress.
In yet another accident, a missing bolt caused a side rail to separate
from the mattress and a 6-month-old baby became entrapped in a space
between the mattress and side rail and suffocated. Similar reports
of fatal accidents are repeated many times in Commission files and
many more non-fatal incidents are on record in which an entrapped
child was rescued.
Accidents such as these may occur when hardware intended to hold
parts of the crib together has worked loose, come apart, or broken.
Hardware can become worn or over-stressed as a result of childrenís
playing; repeated disassembling and reassembling of cribs, such
as during household moves; when new babies are born in the family;
and when cribs are sold or given to another family.
Hardware also can work loose as a result of moving or cleaning the
crib. On some cribs, the design is such that the mattress support
hanger may easily come out of the supporting hook, allowing the
mattress to drop at one corner. This can happen when changing the
sheets, raising or lowering the drop side, or simply when the baby
moves in the crib. The CPSC also knows of cases in which wood
screws have pulled out of the wood, machine screws and nuts have
worked loose, and hooks which support the mattress have broken or
A project has been initiated to work with crib manufacturers to
examine the need for product standards for crib hardware and to
determine the extent to which such standards would prevent injuries
and deaths. If you have a crib, you are urged to inspect it frequently
for hardware which has disengaged or needs to be repaired or replaced.
The Commission also suggests:
buying a new crib, physically examine it for stability. Look for
adequate strength in the frame and headboard, a secure fitting
mattress support structure, and a label certifying that the crib
complies with the Commissionís standards for cribs.
you buy a used crib, make sure all the hardware is present and
in good condition. Make sure that when the crib is assembled,
all the pieces of the crib are securely attached and the mattress
fits snugly. Also, check the wood joints to be sure they are not
coming apart. Check to see that the slats are no more than 2-3/8"
apart -- the distance required by law for all new cribs.
cribs in which the mattress support hanger easily disengages from
the hooks on corner posts, secure the mattress support hanger
firmly to the hook on the post.
- If you have doubts about the condition of your
crib, have the crib repaired or discard it.