Here's a recall that doesn't follow the usual path, but is as important as any, and more so than most. That's because three infants have suffocated in Generation 2 Worldwide SafetyCraft cribs, and many more have been involved in incidents that could have been disastrous.
A safety alert from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, issued last week, explains that crib maker Generation 2 Worldwide went out of business in 2005, so, although certain models of its cribs are hazardous and should not be used, there's no company left to issue a recall or contact for resolution. The crib's plastic drop-side hardware can break, the side can detach, and an infant or toddler can become wedged in the open space and suffocate or strangle. (The "SafetyCraft" trademark was bought by Foundations Children's Products; cribs manufactured and sold by that company are not part of this safety alert.)
The CPSC passed regulations in December that will essentially ban traditional drop-side cribs entirely. Since January 2000 there have been more than 30 infant and toddler suffocation and strangulation deaths in drop-side cribs.
The dangers have been evident for a while, and over the past few years more than eight million cribs were recalled. Usually, consumers are instructed to contact the manufacturer for replacement hardware or return instructions. But with no company left to orchestrate a recall, parents and caregivers with these models of Generation 2 Worldwide SafetyCraft cribs are being told by CPSC to "stop using these cribs immediately and find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Do not attempt to fix these cribs."
If you suspect you might have one of the hazardous models, check the CPSC's safety alert for photos and details of the label. If you have to, find another safe sleeping environment that has no soft bedding or other hazards. We don't recommend placing your baby in your own bed to sleep. Adult beds pose hazards: your baby could get trapped between the bed and a wall, headboard, bed frame, or other object. Accidental suffocation in soft bedding is another danger, or your baby could fall off the bed.
If you're looking for a replacement crib, read our crib buying guide and check out our crib Ratings (for subscribers).
Retailer Babies 'R' Us has announced a trade-in event for used juvenile products. A spokesman confirmed that the Generation 2 cribs will be included among the items accepted. The used items can have been bought anywhere. Babies 'R' Us will give a 25 percent discount on the purchase of one of several juvenile products purchased through February 21, 2011.