May 23, 2010

Gillibrand, Parents Whose Children Have Died In Drop Side Cribs Call For Federal Ban, Over 1.5 Million Deadly Drop Side Cribs Recalled From Store Shelves This Year Alone

Five Major Drop-Side Crib Recalls Already This Year, More Than 30 Children Have Died from These Type of Cribs

New York, NY – Earlier this month, the fifth major drop-side crib recall of 2010 resulted in hundreds of thousands of drop-side baby cribs being removed from store shelves due to deadly defects. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stood in midtown Manhattan with two New York families whose children died from faulty cribs today to take action, calling for a federal ban on the sale, re-sale, manufacture, and distribution of all drop-side cribs. Gillibrand’s legislation would also ban drop-side cribs in public places such as daycare centers and hotels. Nassau, Suffolk and Rockland counties have passed similar countywide bans. Over the last three years, more than 6 million of these cribs have been recalled, including more than 1.5 million this year alone. Drop side cribs have resulted in the deaths of at least 32 infants since 2001.

“Enough is enough. These products are deadly and they should be banned.  Time and time again, drop-side cribs have trapped and suffocated infants, destroying families across the country,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It is critical that we take action to prevent any further senseless deaths and stop these dangerous and deadly products from reaching any more homes, nursery rooms, stores, and day care centers.”

“Recalls are not enough to protect our children from these dangerous cribs. Now is the time for government to act,” said Suffolk County Legislator Horsley. “Our message to crib manufacturers is loud and clear, stop wasting time and stop putting our children in danger.  If manufacturers are determined to continue producing these deadly products it is time for the Federal Government to follow in Suffolk County’s footsteps and ban them outright.” 

“It's clear that voluntary recalls of drop-side cribs are not sufficient to protect our children from these dangerous products,” said Suffolk County Legislative Majority Leader Jon Cooper, co-sponsor of the landmark law banning the sale of drop-side cribs in Suffolk County.  “Congress should enact a nationwide ban before yet another infant dies tragically. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for taking the lead on this important issue.”

“I sponsored Nassau’s ban on sales of drop-side cribs to protect our infants and their families from a fatally-flawed design,” said Nassau County Legislator Denenberg. “A federal ban will save many more infant lives.  We also need to recover those drop-side cribs still in use.  But, simply put, Senator Gillibrand’s law saves lives.  You can’t do better than that.”

“I've always felt that this is an issue begging for national action, and I'm so pleased that Senator Gillibrand is working to protect our children in Washington,” said Rockland County Legislator Alden H. Wolfe.  “A national ban on drop-side cribs is the only way that we can truly safeguard our children from a design that seemingly can never be perfected.  I applaud Senator Gillibrand for taking the lead on what I consider to be the most important product safety issue facing our children today.”

“This legislation, along with measures by a newly invigorated Consumer Product Safety Commission, will give parents the assurance they need that the crib they buy will keep their baby safe,” said Nancy A. Cowles, Executive Director of non-profit group Kids In Danger.

“Consumers Union strongly supports this critical new bill,” said Ami V. Gadhia, Policy Counsel at Consumers Union. “Our organization has worked hard to address the dangers posed to babies from these cribs and we applaud Senator Gillibrand's leadership in making sure babies have the safest sleeping environment possible.”

Drop-side cribs, those with at least one side that moves up and down, have proven to be fatal. Since 2001, at least 32 infants have died from drop-side cribs, including two New York infants who were suffocated – a 7-month-old from Gouverneur, NY and a 9-month-old in the Bronx. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), 14 additional infant deaths could be linked to drop-side cribs, with two fatalities in New York.

Two Long Island families who lost children due to drop-side cribs joined Senator Gillibrand to announce the new legislation. The Ciriglianos’ 6 month old son Bobby died in 2004 when his head and neck were caught in the detached side rail of the crib. More than a decade ago, the Witte family’s 10 month-old son Tyler was strangled between the side rail and headboard of a drop-side crib.

Cribs involved in these incidents had plastic drop-side hardware that were broken, deformed, or loose, oftentimes breaking apart and causing children to slip through the gap and risk suffocation or strangulation.

The most recent announcement of C&T International, Sorelle and Golden Baby cribs is part of the 6 million drop-side cribs that have been recalled over the past three years. Thirteen deaths have been linked to Simplicity cribs, which were recalled last month. Close to every major brand of cribs, including Graco, Generation 2 Worldwide, Dorel, Caramia, LaJobi, Stork Craft, Simplicity, and Delta Enterprise have recalled drop-side cribs in the last 18 months.  Toys “R” Us, one of the nation’s largest children’s stores, has stopped selling these defective cribs.

Other recalls in 2010 of drop-side cribs include:

  • April : More than 200,000 Graco®-branded drop-side cribs recalled by LaJobi
  • March: 600,000 recalled by Dorel Asia after a six-month-old died from strangulation.
  • February: More than 500,000 recalled by Generation 2 Worldwide and “ChildESIGNS” after three infants died from suffocation over the past several years.
  • January: 1,000 recalled by Caramia Furniture after 18 cases of vertical slats detached from rails. 

To prevent further child deaths and injuries, Senator Gillibrand is introducing federal legislation that would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or re-sell any and all drop-side cribs. Gillibrand’s legislation would also ban drop-side cribs from public facilities including day care centers and hotels and toughen enforcement, giving CPSC the authority to levy civil or criminal penalties on suppliers or venders that knowingly sell or re-sell banned drop-side cribs. 

Nassau, Suffolk and Rockland counties have already approved their own countywide bans, with Legislators Horsley (D-Babylon), Denenberg (D-Merrick), and Wolfe (D-Suffern) as lead sponsors. State Senator Charles Fuschillo (R- Merrick) has introduced legislation to ban drop-side cribs in New York State.

CPSC and Consumer Reports recommend parents only buy stationary-side cribs rather than drop-side ones. CPSC is developing new, more stringent standards than those in place for drop-side cribs. Last December, a group that develops voluntary manufacturing standards for cribs, ASTM, revised their standard to no longer allow the sale of cribs with a traditional drop side.

In April, after reports that Craigslist was still posting recalled drop-side cribs for sale, Senator Gillibrand wrote a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster urging the company to immediately stop selling recalled Simplicity cribs online.