An infant should be safe in his or her own crib. But when cribs are not designed and manufactured properly, they can cause serious children's injures - including death.
One particular problem with crib construction led to a product recall this month. Drop-side cribs that were imported from Taiwan by J.C. Penney were the subject of a recall because the drop-side rails have a propensity to become detached due to a malfunction.
This malfunction can create an unexpected space on the side of the crib, causing strangulation or suffocation of an infant. Infants can also fall out of the crib through such a space and be injured upon hitting the floor.
Suffocation and strangulation are also risks with cribs that contain crib bumpers. This month, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines saying that bumper pads in cribs should never be used.
The reason for the recommendation is straightforward. If infants become trapped in the bumpers, they often do not have the strength or sufficiently developed motor skills to turn their heads and keep breathing.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission is aware of the issue and may strengthen its own crib safety guidelines as the research documents continues to document problems with crib bumpers.
Unfortunately, the CPSC has been slow to act to protect infants from dangerous and defective cribs. A series of reports in the Chicago Tribune asserted that federal safety regulators knew that crib bumpers posed an unreasonable risk of suffocation, yet failed to act.
This lack of action is unconscionable, considering the number of deaths linked to crib bumpers. Over the past two decades, there have been 52 such reports.