Parents rely on cribs as a safe haven – a secure place to leave babies unsupervised while they tend to other responsibilities. According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, cribs are not nearly as safe as we think.
Cribs, playpens and bassinets are responsible for injuries to 26 babies each day (9,500 every year) in the United States. Those figures do not take into account the approximately 100 crib-related infant deaths (“crib death“) that occur each each year.
The author of this study, Gary Smith is also the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He says that “cribs are unique among other children’s products. Parents expect to be able to place a child in a crib and know when they walk away that child will be safe. We need to hold cribs to much higher safety standards as opposed to baby equipment you are supposed to only use with parental supervision.”
The study focused on the number of injuries in children under the age of 2 who were treated in hospital emergency rooms for crib-related injuries between 1990 and 2008. It’s authors relied on data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Many more children are treated in doctor’s offices or urgent-care centers and those cases are not even included in the study.
The CPSC has been regulating cribs for decades. It first promulgated safety standards in the 70’s aimed at protecting children from defective cribs that could result in strangulation, suffocation and falls. Clearly, better regulation is needed.
In 2009, children under the age of 5 suffered more than 14,500 crib-related injuries.
Most of the research and news reports dealing with the topic of infant deaths have focused on fluffy bedding, strangulation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Rarely is any attention paid to injuries linked directly to the cribs.
SIDS is often a diagnosis of exclusion which means when the ER doctors can’t determine what the cause of death really is, they default to SIDS. Could defective cribs be the culprit?
More than 9 million cribs have been recalled by the CPSC since 2007 due to safety hazards. A ban on drop-side cribs will take effect in June.
Nearly 182,000 children were hurt in cribs during the study period. Most of them were injured due to a fall, especially as the babies became older and more mobile. Smith feels new designs should take this into account, whether that means taller crib rails or some other design change to protect against this foreseeable hazard.
The Florida injury lawyers at Hannon Legal Group have sucessfully litigated many product defect cases including those involving defective cribs and other child products.
Anyone who may have been affected by a defective crib or other defective child product is encouraged to contact an experienced Florida product liability attorney at Hannon Legal Group for a free and confidential consultation or by calling (866) 835-6872.