March 19, 2009

Since Cheaper Ones Are Already Unsafe, Your Dropside Crib Will Probably Become Illegal

A tipster phoned this in yesterday, and I when I went to look up the Consumers' Union expert's phone number to get confirmation--hello!--it was already on their safety blog.

The Baby Industrial Complex panel that works with the CPSC to set crib safety standards just voted to develop a new standard that outlaws conventional dropside cribs, and that requires new static load tests for crib slats.

The standards will take a while--many months to agree on, a couple of years, at least--to be pinned down, approved, and propagated, but the likely impacts include:

  • A dramatic decrease in crib recalls, since the standard directly addresses the reasons behind the vast majority of the 4.3 million cribs recalled since 2007: deadly gaps created by broke-ass dropside hardware and spindles made from shitty, flimsy wood. I'm sure there are more scientific terms, but you get the point.

  • My tipster said it best: "This is (finally) the end of the $119 cheap ass crib."

  • Between the dropside and the spindle requirements, the new standard will effectively obsolete almost all the cribs in the market today, suffocating the used crib market in its sleep, so to speak.

  • On the bright side, guest rooms across the country will gain lovely convertible daybeds.
  • I know what you're thinking--and yes, I'm talking to the Ikea nerds right now: "What about Ikea cribs? They're cheap, and not dropside. Won't they survive?" The answer is, I have no idea. If Ikea's US market cribs are identical to the rest of the world's, then they already meet the EU standard for crib slat load testing, which is 60 lbs. But the CPSC wants to the new standard to not only meet but exceed that. Which blows my cynical little mind. I guess only time will tell.

    New crib standard may yield safer designs [ via dt reader anon]


I don't know if this will be the end of the $119 crib. It seems like without moving parts a crib should actually be cheaper to make...

I think if your infant or toddler can put more than 60 lbs. of weight on a slat, you have problems far greater than your crib...

Will they invent a special lift so that we can lower our slumbering infants over the non-dropside, non-dangerous, non-short-people-friendly crib sides?

Is it my imagination or does the rest of the world happily manage to use drop side cribs without as many problems as the USA?

I remember looking for a crib for our first kid and questioning the structural integrity of all the drop rail cribs we looked at. Even the most expensive drop rail cribs were much flimsier than the cheapest fixed side cribs. We went with a mid-range drop rail because my better half didn't want to have to bend over the fixed rail.
We later learned that the drop rail isn't all that important. A fixed rail with an adjustable platform is sufficient. When the kid is a newborn, the mattress is close to the top of the rail so you don't need to reach in too far. As they grow and start sitting/standing, you lower the mattress but the kid can sit/stand so it's plenty easy to get them in/out.
For the second kid we went with a relatively cheap crib with a fixed rail. It feels and looks much sturdier than the more expensive drop rail crib we had.

Most of the rest of the world uses fixed-side cribs, many great US companies make fixed-side cribs, and I have an Oeuf crib at home that has crippled no one in our family.

I think it will bring down the price of a lot of more hardware to buy. If anything the crib manufacturers probably want this. There are so many issues with drop rails because people don't know how to install or re-install them properly. More than once I've broken a drop rail from a ~$700 crib by leaning on it too much (granted I'm 200 lbs). The $1200 cribs don't do that.

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