Baby crib recall
Styczeń 5, 2009
Recall of nearly 1.6 million cribs opened a new front in the battle to improve consumer safety by focusing attention on older or reassembled children’s products.
The recall announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission involved older cribs that are no longer on the market but are often reused by families or sold at resale shops and online at sites such as Craigslist.
The recall covered cribs sold in the U.S. from 1995 to 2007 by Delta Enterprise, the largest distributor of cribs in the world. Two 8-month-old infants died in the Delta cribs when the drop side detached from the frame, creating a gap that the children fell through. They got stuck and suffocated. In the past 13 months alone, the CPSC has taken action involving 3.1 million cribs and bassinets. Recognizing that the current voluntary system of setting safety standards has fallen short, agency officials said they will now push to establish tougher rules for the hardware used in cribs and other children’s products.
„Having determined that no actions have been taken by the voluntary standards community, the agency is using another authority granted by Congress, the authority to create mandatory standards,” said CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese. But child-safety advocates noted that tougher standards have been considered by the industry for years and questioned why the agency has been so slow to act. „The timeliness for taking action on stronger standards is a huge problem,” said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based Kids In Danger. Tuesday’s recall covered older, drop-side cribs that had broken down because of wear and tear or lacked safety hardware that caregivers had lost.
In May 2007, an 8-month-old girl suffocated after getting caught between the crib’s drop side and the mattress. In that case, the Delta crib had been reassembled without a safety peg that prevented the drop side from detaching. About a year later, an 8-month-old boy suffocated when the drop side of his crib detached because a spring-triggered safety peg failed after extended use.
Delta defended its products, saying the recall was a reminder that consumers should not use cribs with missing or broken parts. „These very tragic events were not caused by any defect in the products,” said Jack Gutt, a Delta spokesman. „It is our responsibility that our customers have the right pieces and are clear on the safety warnings.” Delta and federal regulators are urging consumers to discontinue use of the cribs and order repair kits that will fix the defective parts or replace missing ones.
But advocates, including the Illinois attorney general’s office, said the remedies taken by the agency and Delta don’t go far enough. „The whole notion of a repair kit just doesn’t work,” said Cara Smith, deputy chief of staff for Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan. In a strongly worded letter sent to Delta on Tuesday, Smith also pointed out that the recall does not include the name of the products that consumers are familiar with, only the model numbers.
Because many of the cribs involved in the current recall are being reused and, in some cases, resold, some also question whether the safety agency is doing enough to warn consumers. Smith said her office found 200 cribs involved in Tuesday’s recall for sale on Craigslist in 22 major cities. Vallese said the agency has been working for more than five years to warn consumers buying used products on Craigslist and other sites.
Smith was unimpressed. „If CPSC has been doing that for five years, they’ve been doing a bad job, ” she said.