March 21, 2008

WooHoo! DIY Crib Of Death Takes Design*Sponge Bronze


Let's all celebrate with mom-to-be Melissa, whose hand-painted, death-slat-equipped, fallout-optimized, mini-crib won 3rd Prize in Design*Sponge's recent DIY Project Contest. I'm sure she'll use the $300 prize money to buy some infill slats.

I think we've all learned an Important Lesson today: about crib safety; about the love and care that goes into DIY projects, which can surpass mass-produced, store-bought stuff in every way, including deadliness; about the seething outrage toward know-it-alls--parental and kid-free alike--that bubbles just below the surface of our Internet conversation; and most of all, about Ourselves. Whatever we originally thought about this beautiful deathcrib, we're ALL winners now! Or at least in 3rd place. Group hug!

DIY Winners: 3rd Place [designspongeonline]
Previously: Ooh, Will Homemade Crib Of Death Win Design*Sponge's DIY Contest??
Two's A Trend! Another Stylish Crib Of Death Photoshoot


I consider myself the farthest thing from a "sancti-mommy" but the fact that this won has really annoyed me. It's very pretty, yes, but if someone had designed a DIY toaster that had the potential to electrocute anyone who used it - it would NOT win a design contest.

And all those well intentioned people who have commented on design sponge that they survived without "safe" cribs when they were babies and therefore this crib is perfectly fine - probably didn't have a carseat either - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't buckle your kid in.

Ugh! why does this stupid contest bother me so much?

"if someone had designed a DIY toaster that had the potential to electrocute anyone who used it - it would NOT win a design contest."

Oh, I'm not so sure about that. Design contests are notorious for rewarding functionally poor- but pretty- design.

In this case, I think this probably won (or came in third) precisely because it was "attacked" as being unsafe. Everyone loves an underdog and all that.

I agree Scott, the crib was quite pretty but I doubt so many people would have voted for it had it not been for the huge debate. I was less annoyed by the "I turned out ok" comments than the "you don't have to build it" comments. At least on the award page it was made extremely clear that the crib was a hazard, though I would have been happier if the picture itself had flashing red letters saying: warning! unsafe! On the original post there was a short warning at the end that could easily be overlooked. Someone in the comments actually said something like: "Well it's not like anyone would make something just from a picture without any instructions." I really wanted to comment (but at that point there were already hundreds so what's the point) hello? It's DIY. That's what people who like DIY DO. All. The. Freaking. Time.

I too agree with Scott, and that thought occurred to me while reading all the comments on the original contest page. Every time someone would post a valid, reasonable, criticism of this piece, a flurry of "Go Melissa! It's so beautiful!" posts would follow.
One thing that I don't believe even one commentator mentioned, is the mattress in the crib. The project description says that Melissa built the entire crib herself, including the bumpers, and the mattress. The mattress is a simple slab of high density foam, covered with fabric. Not the best idea, when infants should be on as firm a mattress as possible to prevent re-breathing and suffocation. That aside, since the crib is not a standard size, won't all the bedclothes need to be custom made? How many custom sheet sets will you feel like whipping up? We went through quite a few late-night changes in those early months. Just bad design from both a practicality standpoint, and a safety standpoint. But hey, as long as it's pretty, right?

For the record, there are plenty of commercial foam crib mattresses on the market, made of high density foam, that are perfectly safe. Colgate makes an excellent one for about a hundred bucks, if you can find it. Moonlight Slumber makes a deluxe one for two, if you're made of money. Heck, Moonlight Slumber will make custom foam mattresses to your specifications, again if you're made of money. The mattress is the least of this crib's problems.
Until mold starts growing in it, as I noticed it doesn't seem to be waterproofed.

Hi there
Thanks for posting this and your continued vigilance. D*S refused to print my comment. Essentially despite the disclaimers and the references, all that I have read indicates that Melissa, creator of the crib, intends to use the crib as created. She has made a conscious choice to use a crib that does not meet safety standards. (Oh I forgot, she did check at the hardware store to make sure her carefully sanded slats would be coated with a non toxic varnish.) I checked wiki and found references to child endangerment: this crib qualifies for its wilful refusal to create a safe environment for the baby. But hey, if the baby dies, she's got a cool coffin. Crib of death indeed. This design infuriated me and the response from D*S even more so. Regards, Pink

Oh man has this whole thing has gotten my creative homemade ideas going. I'm going to get to work on my next year's entry now. I think I'll call it "Moses Basket Carseat". I'll make it out of grape vines and hand spun yarn. The buckle will be braided banana leaves held together with a giant Marimekko patterned bow. I can hear the comments from passers by now, "My that baby must have looked lovely before she went through the windshield."

Of course they survived unsafe cribs when they were infants. Those that didn't are DEAD. Who knew I could develop an even lower opinion of the Average American Parent than I already had?

Amazing that weeks later I can still feel rage about it.

So pretty but unsafe, I can't imagine my son sleeping here.

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