October 9, 2007

JPMA's Statement On The Biggest Crib Recall In History, Annotated

Our Baby Industrial Complex at work. Here's the text of a statement released by the JPMA, with a little extra context:

Statement of JPMA Concerning the Simplicity Recall
Representatives of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) have met with Simplicity, Inc. to discuss the company’s recently announced recall of its cribs.
Which only happened when it did because the Chicago Tribune told the impotent CPSC it was preparing an extensive investigative report on deaths and injuries caused by the defective crib design.
We believe the company’s decision to enter into a voluntary recall was both commendable and appropriate.
Which is why the JPMA lobbies against any changes to CPSC rules that could strengthen the agency's ability to demand manufacturers recall dangerous products
This recall demonstrates the company’s commitment to making safe products and taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of those who use them.
Because really, what demonstrates a company's commitment to safety more than selling a million cribs with a deadly design flaw which went undetected or uncorrected for almost ten years?
Simplicity has been a member of JPMA since 1992 and a participant in the JPMA crib Certification Program since 1999.
Manufacture of Simplicity's defective cribs began in January 1998, so almost every crib in the recall was certified by JPMA.
Simplicity’s products carry the JPMA certification seal because they have passed the comprehensive and rigorous tests and review administered at our qualified independent testing lab.
Which nevertheless did not spot a deadly design flaw.
Cribs are just one of the 17 juvenile product categories for which standards exist. Initiated in 1976, the Certification Program was designed to offer parents that added assurance that the juvenile products they purchased were built to the highest safety standards.
The highest safety standards the manufacturers would put up with, created by the industry in an attempt to thwart actual, government-enforced standards.
Independent standards organizations and the safety standards developed in cooperation with industry experts result in some of the best hazard-based standards that ensure today’s parents may be comfortably secure in the safe use and selection of their juvenile products.

In fact, in a Senate hearing on the reauthorization of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), authorities cited an 89% reduction in fatalities and injuries due to the establishment and effectiveness of ASTM Standards for cribs.

Which is plenty, since the industry vigorously opposes any expansion of the CPSC's standards and enforcement in these 17 product categories.
As with all consumer products it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s assembly instructions. This recall should serve as a reminder to all consumers to regularly check their cribs to ensure that they are properly assembled, and all screws and bolts are appropriately tightened.
Because until compelled to act otherwise, the industry's operating principle is that design flaws are almost always just consumer error and misuse dressed up in a sad suit by product liability lawyers. Which is also why manufacturers opposeany expanded reporting requirements for data about product failure, accidents or injuries.
Consumers should check with manufacturers if they have any concerns about product assembly.
Also call the CPSC, not that they'll do anything about it, of course.


I realize there are legal implications involved but I love how they don't even mention (even in couched legalese) the tragedy of the deaths involved or offer an iota of sympathy to those who have suffered. It's all "cover your ass" and "no need for additional regulations".
I'm appalled.

Yeah, for the record, if you call the CPSC to ask if there are any complaints on record about a given product, they can't tell you. There's no data released until an actual recall. The nice woman I spoke with suggested I search parenting blogs and forums for reviews on safe cribs. That's the global village at work -- you want to know the truth, ask your neighbor (or 300 million neighbors).

[yikes. our government's advice is to take advice from some random blog. as the publisher of a random blog, I am very afraid. -ed.]

So the JPMA's official advice if you want to know more about product complaints is that "The truth is out there. No, really, it's way out there somewhere, cause God knows you're not gonna find it in here."

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