Safety concerns could see USA ban drop-sided cots

Cribs and cots with drop down sides have been link to fatalities and look set to be outlawed America

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UPDATE 26/05/2010: We spoke to the UK’s Baby Products Association (BPA) about what America’s possible drop-sided cot ban means for us parents in the UK.

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The BPA explained how the UK situation is different. Here, there have been no reported instances of deaths involving drop-sided cots that they’re aware of. At this time, there are no plans to change the relevant safety standard. This standard involves quite rigorous testing, including impact testing, which differs from the standard in the USA. The BPA will stay abreast of the news as the situation in America unfolds.

If the advice for UK parents does change, we’ll make sure you get the info as soon as possible on MFM.

Drop-sided cribs and cots look set to be banned in the USA. The move comes after yet another safety notice was issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about the “deadly hazards with drop-side cribs” on May 7. The worry is over the suffocation and strangulation risks posed by drop-sides.

American senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants to bring in legislation this week banning the manufacture, sale and resale of drop-sided cots. This would also see the use of such cots in daycare centres and hotels outlawed. “There still are thousands and thousands of children who are sleeping every night in drop-side cribs and we need to protect them,” she said in an Associated Press interview, reports the Guardian.

In the USA, big retailers such as Babies R Us and Wal-Mart have already taken drop-sided cots off sale in their stores.

The CPSC advises that while not every drop-sided crib or cot is hazardous, overall this style of cot is more prone to the problems than a fixed-sided option.

So where does the risk lie? According to the CPSC safety notice, “drop-side cribs generally have a tendency to be less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed sides.” The safety notice goes on to explain that, “Drop-side hardware is prone to break, deform or experience other problems during normal or foreseeable use. The older the crib, the more problems can be expected. When drop-side hardware breaks or deforms, the drop side can detach in one or more corners from the crib. If an infant or toddler rolls or moves into the space created by a partially detached drop side, the child can become entrapped or wedged between the crib mattress and the drop side and suffocate. Infants can also strangle in the “V” shape formed by a drop side that detaches in an upper corner.”

Drop-sided cribs and cots have been blamed for 32 baby and toddler deaths in America over the past nine years. Another 14 deaths may also be connected, but the CPSC can’t conclusively say if the drop-side was involved with these fatalities.

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The CPSC has announced 11 recalls of drop-sided cots and cribs over the last five years. This has affected more than 7 million cots in America.

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