Safety chief vows fast action after recall of cribs
WASHINGTON - The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday promised swift action to get dangerous products off the market, acknowledging the agency did not move quickly enough on a record recall of more than 2 million cribs linked to four deaths.
“We were not advancing this case as quickly as possible,’’ chairman Inez Tenenbaum said. “So, I put all of the resources for the agency on this project so that they could accomplish this goal of recalling the crib.’’
At issue are some 2.1 million drop-side cribs made by Stork Craft Manufacturing of Canada. Four infants suffocated in the cribs.
The commission said the recall involves 1.2 million cribs in the United States and almost 1 million in Canada.
Sales of the cribs being recalled date back to 1993, and nearly 150,000 of the cribs carry the Fisher-Price logo.
Stork Craft insisted yesterday that its cribs meet all US and Canadian safety standards.
“If the crib is assembled correctly, maintained correctly, and the safety warnings are adhered to, the cribs are safe and they will not be a problem,’’ Jim Moore, president and chief executive of Stork Craft, said in a video news release shown on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Drop-side cribs have one side that moves up and down to allow parents, especially shorter adults, to lift children from the cribs more easily.
There have been 110 incidents of the drop-side detaching from the Stork Craft cribs, according to the safety commission.
In the case of Stork Craft and other drop-side cribs, the hardware used to put the crib together can break, deform, or become missing after years. There also can be problems with assembly mistakes.
Parents often take the crib apart after one child has grown out of it, and then reassemble the crib later for another baby - and that can lead to parts not being assembled properly. The hardware and misassembly problems can cause the drop-side to detach, creating a dangerous V-like space between the drop-side and the crib mattress, where a child can become trapped and suffocate.
More than 5 million drop-side cribs have been recalled in the past two years.
The commission is considering mandatory standards for crib design. Given the history of troubles with drop-sides, Tenenbaum said, there is a compelling reason to ban the cribs. If she had a baby, she said, she would not put the infant in a drop-side crib.