A recall on Monday of nearly 1.6 million cribs, triggered by the suffocations of two 8-month-old infants, has prompted a government agency to urge parents to inspect older drop-side cribs for safety problems.
Both of the suffocations involved infants who got stuck in a gap created when the movable side came off of its guide track.
The incidents, which involved Delta Enterprises cribs, were related to safety pegs that are intended to prevent the drop side from lowering too far and slipping off the track. If these pegs are not installed or if they fail to engage, the drop-side can detach and create a dangerous gap where babies can get stuck.
"We ask parents to inspect your crib from time to time and tighten up the hardware," Nancy Nord, acting head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in an interview Tuesday. "It's very important that parents understand they need to inspect the integrity of the hardware."
One 8-month-old infant died because the safety pegs were missing and the crib's side detached, leaving a gap. The infant got stuck in the gap and suffocated. In the second case, another 8-month-old child died in a similar way after a spring-loaded safety peg failed and allowed the side to detach.
Nord urged parents to make sure that moving parts on cribs are functioning smoothly and securely and cautioned them not to try makeshift repairs.
The Delta Enterprises recall included 985,000 drop-side cribs of various models, because of the potential for missing safety pegs. These cribs were manufactured in Taiwan and Indonesia and sold by major retailers including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target.com, between January 1995 and September 2007. The recall also included 600,000 cribs of various models with spring-loaded safety pegs. These cribs were manufactured in China and sold between January 2000 and January 2007.
The recall doesn't affect any cribs now in retail inventory.
The company will offer consumers replacement safety pegs or spring peg kits.
"We're erring on the side of caution," said Jack Gutt, spokesman for New York-based Delta Enterprise said Monday. "Anyone who calls and has these cribs that were constructed in these time periods, we're going to send anybody and everybody either additional safety pegs or the retrofit kit."
Nord said her agency is in the early stages of creating additional safety standards for cribs to address their durability.
"It's time to take another look at the crib standards," she said.
For details on the recall, click on the links below.