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Monday, December 20, 2010

Ban on Cribs with Drop-sides Seems Like Overreach

In the last decade, 32 infants have died in cribs with sides that can lower down, called drop-side cribs.  Because of this, and a bounty of recalls (over 7 million cribs), the U.S. government is going to essentially ban the sale of drop-side cribs

I agree that we have a problem when manufacturers have to recall so many cribs.  But there are approximately 8 million children who are age 0-2 and in the last decade there have been over 40 million kids in the last decade who have been ages 0-2.  That means 1 in every 1.25 million infants has died in a drop-side crib in the last 10 years.  For comparison, 2,500 infants die of SIDS each year (1 in every 1,600 infants).  And 40,000 Americans die every year in car accidents (1 in every 7,500 people).

It's a tragedy when a child dies, but enough of a tragedy to ban every drop-side crib?  I'd be more confident if we knew that cribs with fixed sides will be manufactured with more care for safety than drop-side cribs, but I doubt it (it would be interesting to know how many infants died in non-drop-side cribs in the last decade).

There are many hazards for infants, but I can think of a few (persistent endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA) that probably deserve more attention than drop-side cribs.

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