Monetary Incentive for Dangerous Crib Recalls?

Bloomberg reports that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is considering requiring crib manufacturers to provide consumers with refunds or monetary incentives when dangers cribs are recalled. Crib recalls usually involve a free repair kit, but many parents never contact the manufacturer to receive the free repair kit. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum says that refunds or monetary incentives such as store credits may increase response rates to recalls.

“Such a requirement would certainly incentivize many consumers to discard and replace defective cribs,” Tenenbaum told a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel. Tenenbaum said that lawmakers should consider requiring companies to offer refunds or store credits.

Since 2007, more than 7 million dangerous cribs have been recalled. However, many of these cribs are still being used. Even worse, many of the recalled cribs are still being sold in secondary markets.

In November 2009, 2.1 million cribs made by Stork Craft manufacturing were recalled. It was the biggest crib recall ever. The recall was instigated only after the death of four infants in the United States. The drop-side cribs posed a danger of infants being trapped.

Just last week, more dangerous crib recalls were announced. Dorel Asia cribs were recalled due to strangulation and suffocation hazards. These cribs also have a drop-side that can potentially trap infants. Dorel Asia has received 31 reports of drop-side incidents, including six cases where children were trapped. The recalled Dorel Asia cribs, manufactured in China and Vietnam, were sold at K-Mart, Sears, and Wal-Mart stores between January 2005 and December 2009 for $120 to $700. Dorel Asia cribs with the following model numbers were recalled: WM1633, WM1633-0, WM1676BC, WM1676BCR-DC, WM2163, WM2163DC, WM1633-0-DC, GP004B3EGR, GP004B3WGR, GP006BCEGR, GP006BCWGR, DA1615B3, DAKM5132, DASE5005, DASE5009, DA0504KMC-1N, DA0504KMC-1W, DA1614B3, DAKM5152, and DASE5015. If you have one of these cribs, stop using it immediately and call Dorel Asis at 1-866-762-2304 to receive a free repair kit. You can also visit dorel-asia.com for more information about this recall.

Drop-side cribs made by Caramina Furniture were also recently recalled. The recalled Caramina "Diana" drop-side cribs were sold at Buy Buy Baby and mass merchandise stores from September 2002 through December 2005 for $240 to $370. For more information about this recall, contact Caramina Furniture at 1-877-728-0342.

The CPSC now has a Crib Information Center to provide information about all of the crib recalls.

I certainly hope that lawmakers decide to require crib makers to offer some type of monetary incentive for recalls. Frankly, if I owned a crib that had been recalled due to strangulation hazards, I would want a full refund. A simple repair kit would not put my mind at ease! Additionally, because of all these recalls, I would not trust any drop-side cribs. There is an inherent design flaw in the safety of these cribs.

If you're a parent or children's caregiver, please review these crib safety tips from the CPSC:

To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick quilts in a baby’s sleep environment. Also, make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.

Proper assembly of cribs is paramount - Follow the instructions provided and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for assistance.

Do not use old, broken or modified cribs - Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.

Properly set up play yards according to manufacturers' directions. Only use the mattress pad provided with the play yard; do not add extra padding.

Never place a crib near a window with blind or curtain cords; babies can strangle on curtain or blind cords.

Have any of you parents out there had a bad experience with drop-side cribs? If so, please leave a comment and let others know.