WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- A ban on drop-side cribs announced Wednesday by the U.S. government comes after millions of recalls and the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers in the past decade.
The unanimous vote by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission forbids the manufacture, sale and resale of the cribs, which feature a side rail that moves up and down. The requirement that all cribs have fixed sides takes effect next June, the Associated Press reported.
The use of drop-side cribs by hotels and childcare centers will be prohibited but those businesses will be given a year to buy new cribs.
Since 2000, drop-side cribs have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants and toddlers, and are suspected in another 14 deaths. In the past five years, more than 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled in the United States, the AP reported.
Drop-side cribs have been popular for decades but have become a serious safety issue in recent years due to assembly problems and malfunctioning hardware that can cause the drop-side rail to partially detach from the crib. This can create a "V"-like gap between the side rail and mattress where an infant can get trapped and suffocate or strangle.
The CPSC also ordered tougher safety testing for cribs and improved labeling on crib pieces in order to reduce assembly mistakes that could put children at risk, the AP reported.
The new crib standard is one of the strongest in the world and will greatly reduce crib-related hazards, according to CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Parents of children who died due to problems with drop-side cribs welcomed the ban, even if it didn't come soon enough.
"Yes, it's a long time coming," Chad Johns of Roseville, Calif., told the AP. "But the fact that it is happening -- that's what is important."
Johns' 9-month-old son Liam died in a drop-side crib in 2005.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice about cribs.