My hubby emailed me this last nite and I am sharing it with all of you.

By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY
Bobby Cirigliano was 6 months old in 2004 when  the side rail of his drop-side
crib came loose, he became trapped and  suffocated between the mattress and
It seemed like an isolated, freak accident, his  parents said, until theybegan
researching crib deaths.
"We were horrified to learn how many were before  and how many came after
Bobby," says the infant's father, Robert  Cirigliano. "The companies knew that
there were problems with these  cribs, but there were never any warnings. They
brushed them under the  table."
After recalling 10 million drop-side cribs since  2007 — including 2 million in
June alone — the Consumer  Product Safety Commission proposed new crib standards
last month  that will ban the sale of drop-side cribs and prohibit their use in
hotels and day care centers after it is finalized, likely in December.  Faced
with a mounting death and injury toll and rising consumer fears,  CPSC Chairman
Inez  Tenenbaum moved to publish the crib rules this year, two years ahead  of a
congressional mandate.
SAFETY TIPS: Routine checks of drop-side crib can ensure safety
KIDS' SAFETY: Trade group says companies take safety seriously
MORE INFORMATION: CPSC's  crib information center
Under current federal safety rules that have been  in effect for decades, if
products repeatedly break or otherwise  malfunction, it's considered a defect.
Yet 14 crib companies amassed  more than 900 incident reports about drop-side
cribs that were falling  apart, injuring and killing infants before they
recalled the cribs,  according to a USA TODAY analysis of CPSC data.
"You cannot blame people when time after time you  see the product is not
working," Tenenbaum says.
Few safety hazards scare parents like a faulty  crib, consumer advocates say.
After all, the crib is the only place  parents are supposed to leave babies and
toddlers unattended, says crib  safety advocate Jack Walsh.
Drop-side cribs, which have movable sides that  make it easier to get babies in
and out, have been a mainstay of babies'  rooms since at least the 1970s, thanks
largely to their back-saving  design.
Many manufacturers switched from metal to cheaper  plastic hardware and
less-expensive wood, which Tenenbaum and safety  advocates say exacerbated
problems. Still, cribmakers largely stuck with  their designs, sometimes
chalking up the complaints to consumers who  assembled or used the cribs
improperly, as Stork Craft, Dorel and the  Juvenile Products Manufacturers
Association publicly did.
At least 32 children died since 2000 because they  were in drop-side cribs. An
additional 14 deaths were because of  entrapment that could have been caused by
a drop-side, according to  CPSC.
The hundreds of reports, involving manufacturers  including Delta Enterprise,
Stork Craft, Dorel and the now-defunct  Simplicity, paint a harrowing picture.
Crib rails, slats and attachment  points broke, trapping the heads and feet of
hundreds of babies,  according to the CPSC.
Simplicity, Stork Craft and Delta were three of  the largest drop-side-crib
makers. Stork Craft said in a widely quoted  statement in November that
consumers had assembled cribs incorrectly and  used them with broken parts.
Rick Locker, JPMA's general counsel and an  attorney at Locker Greenberg &
Brainin, says, "There's been an  unjust demonization of drop-side cribs." He
says the problems largely  occurred "simply because they have more moving
parts," along with "wear  and tear and environmental issues over time."
Larger issue
But Alan Schoem, former director of CPSC's Office  of Compliance and now a
senior vice president at Marsh Risk Consulting,  says the problems with
drop-side cribs illustrate a larger issue  manufacturers must consider.
"Companies have an obligation to design their  products so that reasonably
foreseeable product use or misuse doesn't  result in injury or death," says
Schoem. "If the same type of product  use resulting in injury occurs a number of
times — even if the use  originally was misuse — it certainly becomes
Dorel, parent company of Cosco and Safety 1st,  paid then-record civil penalties
of $1.75 million in 2001 for failing to  notify CPSC of dozens of incident
reports, including many involving  cribs that could be easily misassembled and
trap children.
Under CPSC rules, cribmakers could face civil or  even criminal penalties for
failing to factor use or misuse into its  designs or not reporting incidents to
the agency.
CPSC would not comment on whether any of the  cribmakers are being investigated,
but spokesman Scott Wolfson notes,  "The agency does not hesitate to use its
penalties powers if the  evidence points to a violation of the federal reporting
In January, Dorel Asia blamed an eerily similar  issue to its earlier crib
problems on the Iowa parents of an infant who  died in a Dorel drop-side crib. A
company press release noted, "Although  tragic, it is important for consumers to
understand that the  circumstances of this fatality were highly unusual," even
though at the  time of the recall, Dorel had reports of 67 other incidents,
including  eight in which children were trapped between the drop-side and the
In its release, Dorel said that the crib was  assembled using duct tape, that
the parents were arrested for "child  endangerment" and that the father "had
additional drug charges." Dorel  spokesman Rick Leckner declined to comment for
this story.
When the Dorel recall came up at a congressional  hearing in January, JPMA
Executive Director Michael  Dwyer brought up the criminal charges again, only to
learn from Rep. Bart  Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce
oversight  subcommittee, that they had been dropped.
"It is important that if there are manufacturers  profiting from the sale of
these products, they take a good look in the  mirror and do everything they can
to address the problem (and) not  always blame the parents," scolded Rep. Bruce
Braley, D-Iowa.
Even if their own children aren't hurt, parents  who own products that have
injured or killed other children still feel  as though they are "victims," says
crisis communications expert Gene  Grabowski, who has represented many product
manufacturers. If companies  suggest parents may be misusing products, "The
natural reaction of those  consumers is guilt and outrage," he says. "One of the
first rules of  communicating in a crisis is to avoid blaming the victim," says
Grabowski, a senior vice president at Levick Strategic Communications.
Several safety advocates said pointing fingers  back at customers has been an
unfortunate habit of the children's  product trade group over the years.
JPMA "just slips into that because they are a  trade association, and they have
to protect manufacturers," says Walsh, a  consultant to the group Keeping Babies
"They've got to do something about their image,"  he says. "They've got to
soften it."
Brenda Berg, who chairs the JPMA and is CEO of  the children's product company
Scandinavian Child, says the "product  can't always be to blame."
"Blaming the parents — it's a difficult call,"  says Berg. "But the industry has
to be careful about not placing blame  (on parents)."
Berg, who became the JPMA chair in March, says,  "I can't speak for anything
that was said in the past, but I do think  that anything that gives an
appearance of defensiveness takes away from  the fact that JPMA has worked for
decades to save lives and prevent  injuries ..."
Products that are too difficult to assemble can  also be considered defective.
"Inadequate assembling directions" are  considered a defect, Tenenbaum says.
"Often times, because these are manufactured  overseas, they will hire people in
China to write them in English," says  Braley. "The syntax is completely
inappropriate to the intended user."
In recalls involving drop-side cribs sold by  Simplicity and Stork Craft, the
hazard was related to the fact the sides  could be installed upside down without
parents realizing there was a  problem.
Tenenbaum says a friend's son, who is a Harvard  graduate, found his child's
drop-side crib so confounding that he — like  the parents of the Iowa child —
was considering using duct tape to keep  it together. "If a crib had worked
well, you wouldn't need duct tape,"  Tenenbaum says.
CPSC says it "cannot say that every drop-side  crib is hazardous" but notes that
its investigations show the cribs are  "more prone to mechanical failure than
similar designed fixed-side  cribs." Hardware on drop-side cribs is more prone
to problems during  routine use, and the problem is worse with older cribs, CPSC
Drop-side dangers
CPSC's explanation of drop-side dangers mirror  the Ciriglianos' description of
what happened to their son. When  drop-side hardware breaks or deforms, the
drop-side can detach in one or  more corners of the crib. If an infant or
toddler moves into this  space, the child can get trapped or wedged between the
crib mattress and  drop-side and suffocate. Infants can also strangle in the "V"
shape  formed by a drop-side that detaches in an upper corner.
Walsh, who called for drop-side cribs to be  banned in 1990, says regulators and
cribmakers "have to go overboard" on  safety with cribs because, between
babysitters, grandparents and  parents, they "will be misused."
JPMA general counsel Locker cites CPSC data from  early 2007 — before a CPSC
analysis found dozens of drop-side crib  deaths — that shows crib deaths since
1973 were down 89%. And he notes  far more infants are killed when they are
placed in bed with one or both  parents. The non-profit group First Candle says
the risk of an infant  dying is 40 times greater in an adult bed than it is in a
Still, Bill Kitzes, a former CPSC recall adviser  and program manager, believes
babies deserve extra protection from  unsafe products.
"Any time you're dealing with the infant  population, which is unable to protect
itself and has no idea what a  hazard is, the manufacturer has a higher
responsibility to make a  reasonably safe product," says Kitzes, now a product
safety analyst who  works with plaintiff lawyers, manufacturers and occasionally
defense  lawyers.

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