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For first time in 30 years, new safety rules for cribs

For years, we have known about the dangers of drop-side cribs. Today, advocates for consumer safety are hailing what seems to be long overdue change. A revision to the safety standards of baby cribs, the first in three decades, is hoping to eliminate these dangerous products from the shelves.

The new safety standards, created by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, went into effect today, June 28. The standards are focused on the elimination of drop-side cribs, which have led to the suffocation deaths of 32 infants over the past 11 years.

Other requirements will mandate additional safety testing for cribs, stronger mattress supports and slats for cribs, making these parts more durable.

Manufacturers and retailers are required to follow these new standards, but hotels and day cares, as well as other businesses such as crib rental companies, will not have to comply just yet. The reason for this delay is that the Safety Commission foresees a demand of more than 900,000 cribs in these business areas.

The 900,000 replacement cribs would translate to over $400 million worth of expenses. A sudden requirement to replace the cribs in these businesses would likely cause a shortage and could affect new parents. The Safety Commission made sure to plan for this possibility. These businesses will not be required to comply until December 28, 2012, giving them a full year and a half to comply.

Retailers are not excited about the new standards. They expect to lose between 10,000 and 20,000 cribs to the revisions. If the cribs are not sold by June 28, the retailers must destroy them.

Source: Consumer Affairs, "New Safety Standards Outlaw Drop-Side Cribs," James R. Hood, 6/20/2011

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