Feinstein Measure to Improve Safety of Secondhand Cribs Included in Consumer Product Safety Conference Report
- Measure would close regulatory loophole and require consumer product safety standards are applied to the commercial use or sale of secondhand cribs -
Jul 29 2008
Washington, DC – The Consumer Product Safety Commission conference report includes a measure sponsored by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to apply Consumer Product Safety standards to the commercial use or sale of dangerous secondhand cribs in order to protect infants. This would help reduce injuries and deaths that come from infant crib accidents.
The conference report must be approved by an up or down vote in the House and Senate before it can be sent to the President for his signature.
“We’re now one step closer to ensuring that secondhand cribs in the marketplace will have to meet the same product safety standards as new cribs,” Senator Feinstein said.
“This bill will close a loophole that has existed for too long in consumer product safety standards. And it will help prevent injury and death from structurally unsound secondhand cribs that have missing or broken parts. This is an important product safety victory for parents everywhere.”
Currently, U.S. Consumer Product Safety standards apply only to new cribs and not to the sale or commercial use of secondhand cribs, which cause most crib-related infant injuries and deaths.
The measure included in the conference report would pose stiff penalties to commercial users who knowingly violate crib regulations:
- Prohibit commercial users, such as thrift stores and resale furniture stores, to sell, resell or lease unsafe used cribs that are structurally unsound, and prohibits hotels, motels, and day care centers from using unsafe cribs.
- Add secondhand cribs to the list of child and infant products covered by the Consumer Product Safety Act, the law that already applies to new cribs and other children’s products.
- The safety standards for secondhand cribs will now match the safety standards for new cribs, including:
- There should be no broken or missing crib slats and all wooden parts should be free of splits, cracks, and other defects. Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent infant from slipping through the slats.
- There should be no missing, loose, damaged or improperly installed hardware, including screws, bolts, or brackets, on the crib or mattress support.
- Corner posts should not be higher than 1/16” above the end panels of the crib (prevents infant’s clothing from becoming tangled on the crib).
- The mattress support hangers should be secured to the crib frame with bolts or closed hooks.
This law would go into effect no later than one year after the date of enactment.
The language included in this conference report is similar to proposals that Senator Feinstein and Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) have worked on for many years.
“When parents put their children to sleep they need to know the crib is safe,” said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who sponsored companion legislation in the House. “No parent would knowingly put their child in a dangerous crib, and that’s why Senator Feinstein and I have been working to ensure that every crib sold is safe. As a parent, I understand the enormous concern that comes with having small children, and I share every parent’s nightmare of the injury or loss of a child. This legislation will make huge strides in helping parents and childcare centers ensure the cribs they are buying meet safety standards, and help keep our kids safe.”
The Feinstein measure is supported by the following organizations: Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, Safe Kids USA, Kids in Danger, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Public Citizen, National Research Center for Women & Families, and Keeping Babies Safe, based in San Leandro, California.
Every year, more than 11,300 children require hospital treatment from crib-related injuries and over 30 children die from injuries sustained in cribs – according to the most recent data by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Most of these injuries and deaths occur in secondhand cribs that have dangerous features, such as missing or broken parts, and latches that do not prevent unintentional collapse of the crib.
New cribs meeting the standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are generally considered safe.
However, millions of used cribs are still being sold throughout the United States in secondary markets such as thrift stores and resale furniture stores. As many as half of the 4 million infants born in this country each year are placed in second-hand cribs. Additionally, many hotels and motels continue to use unsafe cribs that do not meet safety standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of these used cribs are unsafe and should be taken off the market and either repaired or destroyed.
Real life examples of the tragedies caused by unsafe cribs:
- Garrett Davis, 4-month old son of Rich and Joyce Davis of N.J. died at grandparents home in Florida when Garrett became wedged between the added mattress and the vinyl side of the mesh crib. The suffocation happened in Dec. of 2000.
- Amaya Jade Dummar, 2-month old child of April Dummar, died of asphyxiation when she was caught between the crib railing and side of the crib - a screw pulled loose creating the deadly gap. Gabbs, N.V.
- At the age of 23 months, Danny Lineweaver of Alamo, California was injured during an attempt to climb out of his crib. Danny caught his shirt on a decorative knob on the corner post of his crib and hanged himself. Though his mother was able to perform CPR the moment she found him, Danny lived in a semi-comatose state for nine years and died in 1993.