Video: CPSC chairwoman discusses crib recall

  1. Closed captioning of: CPSC chairwoman discusses crib recall

    >> matt, thank you.

    >>> now to the biggest crib recall in u.s. history . more than 2.1 million drop-side cribs. nbc's tom costello is at the headquarters of the consumer products safety commission . tom, good morning.

    >> reporter: hi, meredith , good morning to you. these are drop-side cribs made by stork craft. the concern is that parents have been known to put this railing in upside down. regardless, the railing has been known to become detached. the plastic hardware along the sides can break, children can easily become trapped between the railing and the mattress or even worse . it is this drop-side crib made by stork craft out of canada that is now part of the biggest crib recall ever. 2.1 million cribs sold in both the u.s. and canada since 1993 . the removable railing or drop side has proven to be deadly.

    >> we know of 15 incidences and 4 deaths because children have become entrapped between the mattress and the drop-side.

    >> reporter: stork craft is one of the most widely purchased brand names in baby cribs with products sold at some of the biggest retailers in the country, including target, walmart, sears and kmart, sometimes under the stork craft name , but also under the fisher-price brand name until december 2004 . earlier this year, stork craft recalled 500,000 cribs after the mattress support brackets broke. and crib safety has become a major concern for the consumer product safety commission , with more than 5 million cribs made by various manufacturers recalled over the past two years.

    >> it was a mixture of suffocation and hanging that caused his death. he was compressed -- you know, he couldn't breathe and he basically choked and hung to death.

    >> reporter: nikki johns found her 9-month-old son liam stuck between the rails on a drop-side crib.

    >> called 911, and my brother and i did cpr on him until the ambulance got there. and they took him to the hospital where they pronounced him dead.

    >> reporter: liam's death led to a massive recall of simplicity and graco cribs after investigators determined a faulty design led many parents to install the drop side upside down. with some retailers now refusing to carry any drop-side cribs, the industry standards board voted just last week to no longer certify any drop-side cribs for sale in america. the advice from the head of the cpsc -- if you have an old one, get rid of it.

    >> people like to pass baby items down generation to generation, but it's not worth it. it's not worth it when your child could be seriously injured or even killed.

    >> reporter: if you have a drop-side crib made by this company, the advice is to use one of these plastic gadgets here that you can get from the company, the fix. you literally put it in place right down here, and that prevents the drop-side from moving down. however, there's widespread concern just about whether any drop-side crib is safe. meredith , we asked the company for a comment. they refused to comment. back to you.

    >> tom costello, thank you. inez tenenbaum is the chairman of the consumer products safety commission . chairman tenenbaum, good morning to you.

    >> good morning, meredith .

    >> i just want to make sure that i understand this correctly. do you recommend that anybody who has a drop-side crib, whether it's manufactured by stork craft or some other company, do you recommend that they replace that crib if they possibly can?

    >> i do recommend this, and short of replacing the crib, if you can get the kit from stork craft, which makes the side immoveable, that's another remedy for this situation.

    >> how reliable do you think that kit is?

    >> well, you can call -- you can call the company and get the kit, and it is made of plastic, so, if you can afford another crib that does not have a drop side, or even if you can't afford it, there are many charities in communities that will provide you with the new crib. that really is the safest way to handle this situation.

    >> as tom reported, the industry standards board voted last week to no longer certify any of these drop-side cribs for sale in the united states . does the commission have the power to ban the sale of these cribs? and if so, would you consider doing so, considering that millions of these cribs have been recalled over the past two years?

    >> well, the commission will write regulations in the next few months, and we will look at this issue about drop sides, but i do not think that drop sides, if it's not going to be certified by the industry, will be a part of cribs in the future. they have been shown to not be reliable. and over time , when the parent raises the side up and down, they're becoming detached from the cribs. so, i think in the future, you will not see cribs with drop sides.

    >> are you saying, then, that in the future you will ban them?

    >> well, we're in the process of rulemaking, and we will take a hard look at this, but i think in the future, these drop sides will be banned.

    >> also, my understanding is that there's no requirement that cribs in general be tested before they are manufactured. should there be requirements?

    >> there should be requirements in terms of specific design of cribs, and we have not had that in the united states because we've relied on voluntary standards. last year, congress passed a new law allowing the cpsc to write mandatory standards on the design and manufacture of cribs and we're in the process of doing that.

    >> very quickly, under president bush , the consumer products safety commission was criticized for being too cozy with business, essentially, toothless. how do you assure the american public, particularly parents out there that are worried, that that's no longer the case?

    >> well, what we're going to do is enforce every law that congress has passed. and last year, it passed a sweeping new law called the consumer product safety improvement act. we are enforcing that law firmly but fairly.

    >> all right. consumer products safety commission chairman inez tenenbaum , thank you very much for your time this morning.

    >> thank you, meredith .

    >>> let us get a check

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 11/23/2009 7:08:40 PM ET 2009-11-24T00:08:40

Government safety regulators say more than 2.1 million drop-side cribs by Stork Craft Manufacturing are being recalled, the biggest crib recall in U.S. history.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the recall involves 1.2 million cribs in the United States and almost 1 million in Canada, where Stork Craft is based.

Nearly 150,000 of the cribs on recall carry the Fisher-Price logo.

The agency is aware of four deaths of young children who suffocated in the cribs, which have a side that moves up and down to allow parents to lift children from the cribs more easily.

The Stork Craft cribs have had problems with their hardware, which can break, or with assembly mistakes by the crib owner.

The danger is that a child's head can get caught between the mattress and the side railing, if it separates from the crib.

This is not the first time cribs have been recalled due to such fears. Nearly 5 million cribs by several manufacturers have been recalled over the past two years, including half a million from Stork Craft earlier this year, and the CPSC has considered banning drop-down sides altogether.

"Drop-side cribs, because of the amount of hardware that's involved, because it weakens the structure of the crib itself have been involved in numerous deaths and injuries, crib failures where the side may come loose or come off," said Nancy Cowles, of the advocacy group Kids in Danger.

Stork Craft is one of the most widely purchased brand names in baby cribs, with products sold at some of the biggest retailers in the country, including Target, WalMart, Sears and Kmart.

CPSC urges parents and caregivers to immediately stop using the recalled cribs, wait for the free repair kit and avoid attempting to fix the cribs without the kit. They should find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free repair kit that converts the drop-side on these cribs to a fixed side.

The cribs, which were manufactured and distributed between January 1993 and October 2009, sold for between $100 and $400, and were made in Canada, China and Indonesia.

The manufacture date, model number, crib name, country of origin, and the firm's name, address and contact information are located on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board. The firm's insignia "storkcraft baby" or "storkling" is inscribed on the drop-side teething rail of some cribs.

Image: Crib
cpsc.gov

The cribs’ drop-side plastic hardware can break or deform, or parts can become missing. In addition, the drop-side can be installed upside-down, which can result in broken or disengaged plastic parts. All of these problems can cause the drop-side to detach in one or more corners. When the drop-side detaches, it creates space between the drop-side and the crib mattress. The bodies of infants and toddlers can become entrapped in the space, which can lead to suffocation. Complete detachment of drop-sides also can lead to falls from the crib.

CPSC, Health Canada and Stork Craft are aware of 110 incidents of drop-side detachment; 67 incidents occurred in the United States and 43 in Canada. The incidents include 15 entrapments, 12 in the U.S. and three in Canada. Four of the entrapments resulted in suffocation: a 7-month-old in Gouverneur, N.Y.; a 7-month-old in New Iberia, La.; a 6-month-old in Summersville, W.Va.; and a 9-month-old in Bronx, N.Y.  Another 20 babies have fallen from their cribs.

Meanwhile, safety experts caution that cribs often stay in homes for generations. If you have one of the cribs in your basement that's been recalled in recent years, fix it or get rid of it. The full list of crib recalls is on the CPSC Web site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2013 msnbc.com

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