The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s official pronouncements on the new mandatory safety standards for cribs have caused confusion among the press. This post is intended to correct the record.
The new standards ban drop-side cribs. But the standards also prohibit the sale, new or used, of all cribs – both drop-side and fixed-side – that are not tested to the new standards by a private laboratory. Because very few cribs that were not originally manufactured to the new standards will ever be tested, the new standards essentially ban all such cribs – drop-side and fixed side. As reported in today’s press, millions of drop-side cribs have been recalled. On the other hand, tens of millions of fixed side cribs manufactured to previous standards have never been recalled, never been found to be unsafe, and now also cannot be sold new or resold used.
Drop side cribs have been banned since 2009 by the voluntary standard followed by the vast majority of crib manufacturers offering cribs in the domestic United States market today. Therefore, although it is true that the new standards are the first “mandatory” federal crib standards in 30 years, very few new drop-side cribs have been available in the United States market for two years. That problem was largely solved already through recalls and a change to the industry voluntary standard.