Babies should sleep safer starting tonight. New federal requirements to make cribs safer took effect today.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission implemented what's being called the most stringent crib safety standards in the world in an effort to combat infant death. There have been at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths in cribs since 2000.
Starting today, all importers, distributors, manufacturers and retailers must offer only cribs that meet new federal standards. The biggest change: The new rules prohibit the manufacture, sale or resale of traditional drop-side rail cribs. The danger occurs when drop-side rails detach and suffocate and strangle infants. In addition, the new safety rules will implement other changes to full-size and non full-size cribs.
The stricter standards require manufacturers to improve slat strength. The cribs must be made with stronger wood. It requires mattress supports to be more durable.
The new rules include tougher safety testing. And crib hardware must be stronger to prevent it from coming loose or falling off. The CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007.
The rules take effect today for manufacturers and retailers. The new rules also apply to cribs currently being used at child care centers. But day care centers have until the end of next year to purchase and begin using the cribs that meet the new standards.
If you already own a drop-side crib, contact the crib manufacturer to find out if your crib has been recalled or if it will send you a bracket that will immobilize the drop side.
For more information on crib safety, go to the CPSC website.