No 'safe sleep' with drop-side cribs, attorney general says

No 'safe sleep' with drop-side cribs, attorney general says

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is denouncing the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association for its upcoming “Safe Sleep” campaign, saying some dangerous drop-side cribs still carry the association's certification seal.

The trade assocation plans to kick off a “five-city education and sleep product donation tour” Wednesday in Chicago in observation of annual Baby Safety Month, according to a press release on its website.

Madigan said it amounts to “peddling deadly merchandise in our own backyard where we fight daily to protect our children from such harmful products.”

In the last five years more than 9.5 million drop-side cribs have been recalled -- almost 4 million in 2010 alone -- due to stangulation or suffocation hazards. At least 32 children have died because the drop-sides became detached, trapping the infants or toddlers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The cribs were popular with parents because the drop-sides make it easier to pick up or lay down a sleeping child. But the consumer agency says drop-side cribs tend to be less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed sides.

Beginning in December 2009, new nationwide industry standards banned drop-sides as a feature of new cribs, Madigan said, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it will ban drop-side cribs in the United States by the end of the year.

But some older drop-side cribs that were still on retail sales floors as recently as July still carried a Certification Seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, she said. The association should force manufacturers to remove those seals from cribs that don't meet new industry safety standards. 

The Safe Sleep Campaign carries a page on crib safety, which lists drop-side crib recalls and tells consumers how to obtain "immobilization kits" for their drop-side crib. The campaign was launched in June to "provide resources for moms, dads and other caregivers across North America," the association's executive director, Michael Dwyer, said at the time. “As a father of three children, I know parents are always looking for answers." 

But Madigan said, “JPMA should take responsibility for certifying deadly drop-side cribs that have killed dozens of infants across the country. They should be launching an awareness campaign to ensure parents and caregivers know drop-side cribs have a deadly flaw, and people need to stop using them immediately."

Based on the new industry standards, drop-side cribs are now deemed unsafe under Illinois law, Madigan said.

The attorney general's office has issued the “Rest Assured: Special Edition” consumer guide, which provides important information to consumers about every drop-side crib recall that has occurred since 2007, including the 12 recalls in 2010.

The guide identifies which cribs were recalled by make and model, when and where the cribs were sold and what to do if you own one. For a copy, call the Attorney General’s Product Recall Hotline at 1-888-414-7678 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013), or go to the Attorney General’s website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.

Here's the full Madigan press release.

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