Many of the recently-recalled cribs have one side that slides down – a drop side – to easily put a baby to bed or pick an infant up, but cribs with stationary sides, have caused serious accidents and deaths as well.
If stationary side cribs are assembled incorrectly, a child's head can get caught, causing suffocation, a condition that Witte says is a flaw that all drop-side cribs have.
And just because so many cribs have been recalled doesn’t mean there aren’t still more out there that are dangerous, Killino adds, saying that parents should not trust regulators and retailers to be as vigilant about safety as a parent would be.
That’s not to say that all cribs are dangerous, however. If you’re searching for a safe crib, “the best thing a parent can do is check the CPSC web site, look for cribs that have been recalled. And don’t stop at looking at the make model and number; look at the nature of the defect,” and pay attention to the manufacturers’ names and the types of cribs that have been recalled, Killino advises. And when you look at a crib that has been put together, check for parts that look like they may come loose and become a choking hazard or possible areas of entrapment or suffocation, he says. But even then, “I'd really think twice about buying a drop-side crib,” Killino says.
Past Crib Deaths
Reports of crib-related deaths aren’t just surfacing now. Suffocation deaths involving infants in all types of cribs go as far back as the 1930s, suggests a report from the American Journal of Public Health published in 1947.
And entrapments in addition to suffocation deaths in cribs have been happening since the 1950s, according to a 1985 study by the UCLA School of Public Health.
In California, from 1960 to 1981, 25% of infant strangulations occurred when a child became wedged between a mattress and a bed frame, bed slats or other parts of a crib, according to the University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health.