A new set of standards took effect this week for baby cribs across the country.
The updated standards go beyond merely prohibiting the traditional drop-side style crib model. Cribs must demonstrate a high level of mattress support. Wood slats must be made of stronger material. Hardware is required to have anti-loosening devices, and cribs must pass rigorous safety tests.
Despite resistance from some major crib manufacturing companies, it is now illegal to "manufacture, sell, contract to sell or resell, lease, sublet, offer, provide for use, or otherwise place in the stream of commerce" cribs that don’t comply with the new regulations.
Child day care centers have until Dec. 28, 2012 to replace cribs that are no longer deemed safe.
The changes come in response to millions of crib recalls and at least 32 infant deaths blamed on unsafe cribs, child safety groups such as Kids In Danger and Illinois Action for Children teamed up with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky with the goal of ushering in "a safer generation of cribs."
The drop-side crib style grew notorious over the past several years for its dangerous flaws. The model features rails that create a deadly gap which has led to recalls and infant deaths. Grief-stricken parents, who lost children in gut-wrenching accidents, took action by delivering powerful testimonies before Congress.
"The fact that children have been injured or killed by these types of products in accidents that were 100 percent preventable is unconscionable," Schakowsky says.
After a 10-year fight by legislators and advocates, Tuesday marked the first tangible results as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's new mandatory crib standards went into effect.
With the new requirements, the U.S. now has the toughest crib standard in the world.
Consumers who come across cribs for sale that do not meet safety standards should contact the US Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or the Illinois Attorney General at 888-414-7678.