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Tougher safety rule for cribs in effect

Drop-side cribs like the one above have been blamed in the deaths of several dozen children. Drop-side cribs like the one above have been blamed in the deaths of several dozen children. (Consumer Product Safety Commission via AP)
Associated Press / June 28, 2011

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WASHINGTON — It’s one of the biggest purchases for soon-to-be parents: a crib for baby. Beginning today, a new generation of cribs, designed to be safer, will be the only ones approved for sale — in stores, online, and even at neighborhood yard sales.

Ushering in one of the most significant changes in child safety in decades, the rule taking effect this week bans the manufacture, sale, and resale of drop-side cribs. Drop-sides have a side rail that can be raised and lowered to allow parents to more easily place or lift a baby, but they have been blamed in the deaths of several dozen children.

Another significant part of the new federal standard mandates more rigorous safety tests for children’s cribs before they hit the market. In the past, manufacturers were allowed to retighten screws and bolts on a crib in the middle of hardware testing meant to mimic how a child might rattle a crib — by jumping up and down or shaking a rail.

On new cribs, all four sides will be fixed and the cribs should be sturdier because of tougher testing requirements.