Crib Safety: What To Do If Your Baby Is Injured By A Defective Crib

June 30, 2024

By Promoting Justice

One of the main causes of infant injuries and deaths concerns playpen and crib use; according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), just over 9,500 children per year visit the emergency room, on average, for crib, playpen, and bassinet-related injuries. Playpen and crib manufacturers have a duty to make sure the designs of their infant products avoid known defects and ensure infant safety, and if a baby sustains an injury due to a defective infant product, this could give rise to a legal claim. Learn about crib safety, including what to do if a baby sustains an injury from a defective crib, and find out how an experienced Vermont products liability attorney can help parents with their product liability claims; contact Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer today at (802) 457-4848.

Is It Safe To Use an Old Crib?

Depending on the age, second-hand cribs might not be very safe to use. For example, the gaps between the slats or the footboard and headboard cut-outs might be too large, potentially allowing a baby’s head to get trapped. Another example is that older cribs could have a finish applied containing lead.

Safety standards for cribs improved drastically from June 2011; cribs produced before this date followed safety standards that had not changed for almost 30 years. In light of this, the recommended approach is to only use second-hand cribs made in the last decade, in addition to avoiding the use of damaged and modified cribs.

How Do I Know if My Crib Is Safe?

Using a safe crib helps prevent injuries to a baby while they sleep. Here are several factors for parents to consider to ensure the crib they use for their child is safe:

  • Make sure the crib has fixed side rails; cribs with drop sides are unsafe since they enable babies to fall or climb out of the crib.
  • Consider opting for a crib with mattress adjustability; this allows parents to change the mattress height as their baby grows to prevent their child from falling out.
  • Be sure the crib has no sharp areas that could injure the infant.
  • For parents who want easy portability, ensure the crib has heavy-duty wheels that lock in place to ensure stability.

What Are the Crib Safety Standards To Know About?

Understanding the various crib safety standards enables parents to choose a crib that is safe for their child. Below are the main standards to consider.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

CPSC regulations focus on a crib’s structural safety. New cribs must comply with these standards, ensuring newly made cribs use safe and durable materials.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

An ASTM certification demonstrates that the glue, wood finish, and composites used to construct the crib contain no harmful chemicals. Under federal requirements, manufacturers of new cribs must adhere to ASTM standards.

Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA)

While not a requirement, some crib manufacturers obtain JPMA certification. This demonstrates that a crib adheres to all state and federal retail requirements, including ASTM standards.

Greenguard Gold Certification

Another non-essential but helpful certification to look out for is the Greenguard Gold Certification, which relates to testing the crib during manufacturing to ensure the product contains permissible volatile organic compound (VOC) levels. This helps reduce a baby’s exposure to chemicals and improves their air quality while sleeping.

Gain a more comprehensive understanding of crib safety and the steps to take if a baby sustains a defective crib-related injury, and explore the legal options available to parents by speaking to a seasoned New Hampshire products liability attorney. Contact Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer today to arrange a consultation.

Crib Safety Tips

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers several tips for safely using a crib to mitigate the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as outlined below.

Drawing the Crib

When preparing a baby’s crib, place the child on their back, make sure the mattress is firm and tight-fitting, and use fitted sheets designed for cribs. Avoid placing pillows, comforters, quilts, bumper pads, stuffed toys, or sheepskins in the baby’s crib, and consider opting for a sleeper rather than a blanket. For parents using thin blankets, tuck the blanket under the mattress and only cover the child up to their chest.

Checking the Crib

To prevent entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation, there should be no improperly installed, broken, missing, or loose brackets, screws, and other hardware supporting the mattress or crib. Furthermore, the corner posts should be no higher than 1/16th of an inch to prevent an infant’s clothing from catching and causing injury. The gaps between the crib slats should be under 2.375 inches to prevent an infant’s body from passing through, and no slats should be missing or damaged.

Assessing Cribs With Mesh Sides

Make sure that the mesh-sided crib has a mesh size below a quarter of an inch, as this prevents small buttons on infant clothing from getting stuck. In addition, ensure the mesh has no holes, loose threads, or tears that may entangle a child. Effective meshes are securely fastened to the crib’s floor plate and top rail; fastenings, such as staples, should all be present, not exposed, or loose, and the cover for the top rail should have no holes or tears.

What To Do if Your Baby Is Injured By a Defective Crib

Defective cribs can at times injure an infant. If a baby sustains an injury in a crib, follow these steps:

  • Immediately source medical care for the child.
  • Preserve the crib’s condition following the injury, and take detailed photos and videos of the crib, including at different angles and close-ups.
  • Find the instruction manual and packaging, if still available, and avoid throwing the crib away to allow others to inspect for product defects.
  • Consider speaking to an attorney with experience in product liability claims.

Contact a Florida Products Liability Attorney Today

When parents purchase a child-related product, they trust the manufacturer to ensure the item is safe to use, but unfortunately, many defective cribs continue to injure infants across the United States. If a crib manufacturer produces a defective crib that harms a child, the child’s parents could consider launching a legal claim to hold the company to account. Consider contacting a Florida products liability attorney from Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer to learn more about crib safety and inquire about potential legal avenues; call a member of our legal team today at (802) 457-4848.