A few months ago, the Baby Bargains Book blog posted about Babies R Us’s decision to stop selling drop-side cribs. The decision came after more than 375,000 Jardine cribs were recalled, costing BRU a lot of money (they’re the exclusive seller of Jardine). The Baby Bargains Book blog suggests that the problem isn’t inherent with drop-side cribs, which have been around for decades without the kinds of problems we’re seeing now, and that the baby gear industry is motivated by the increased profit they could make from non-drop-side cribs.
I’m no safety expert, but we had two drop-side cribs at one point when Tyler was an infant. His crib was one of the Jardine cribs that was recalled – it cost about $300 and was of noticeably poorer quality than the convertible Simmons crib that we had bought for Alex for almost $600. The drop-side on the Jardine crib worked so badly that I stopped using it – I couldn’t use it one-handed, and it was quite loud. And I’m 5’3″ so you know the drop-side had to be really bad for me to not use it. By contrast, the drop-side on the Simmons crib always worked great.
From this admittedly tiny sampling, the lesson I draw is that you get what you pay for. Not that $300 is a pittance, but the difference in the quality of the two cribs was dramatic. And, given all of the recalls recently for drop-side cribs, it may be better to play it safe and avoid drop-side cribs simply because the hardware is more complicated. (By my count over at the CPSC site, there have been six recalls involving drop-side cribs since last fall.)
At the very least, if you have children still sleeping in cribs, you should read this warning from the CPSC about cribs. It includes this list of safety tips for all cribs:
- Parents should not use any crib with missing, broken or loose parts.
- Hardware should be inspected from time to time and tightened to keep the crib sturdy.
- When using a drop side crib parents should check to make sure the drop side or any other moving part operates smoothly on its track.
- Always check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement. Any disengagement can create a gap and entrap a child.
- Do not try to repair any side of the crib without manufacturer approved hardware or with tape, wire or rope.
- Putting a broken side up against the wall does not solve the problem and can often make it worse.