Monday, July 11, 2011


This is the last major (expensive) Cletus purchase. The rest of the spending is death by a thousand paper cuts. So I am out to find out what makes a good crib. Safety is definitely at the top of the list. The Cletus is sleeping in this thing so we don't want it folding up while he is at his most vulnerable. Also, kids tend to like jump up & down in the crib and try to climb out so Construction is super important; it's got to be sturdy. And finally ease of use which is important for baby illiterates like the GB. Construction and ease of use combine in an important way because did you know the GB has to build the damn crib??? This both freaks me out and pisses me off. I ain't no carpenter. I don't build furniture for a living. I teach public speaking - what about that qualifies me to build a crib? But the crib comes in a box in a bunch of different pieces and like Jesus or Jimmy Carter, I am supposed to assemble it. Therefore, the crib must be easy to construct in a sturdy manner.

Most recently, I read about some drop side crib scandal which initially meant nothing to me. It took a minute to figure out what they were blabbin about because the phrase "drop side crib" didn't mean much to people without a Cletus. A drop side crib (for the ignorant like me) is when one or both of the sides can be moved down to make it easier to grab your Cletus. If you are short (really short), then they make it easier to get the Cletus out of the crib. Like Rod Blagojevich, many many drop side cribs were recalled because of safety problems. More than 2 million cribs were recalled because of "concerns that babies can suffocate, become trapped or fall from the cribs... Drop-sides have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000. The cribs are suspected in another 14 infant fatalities during that time" (2). When the side drops unexpectedly, babies' bodies can get trapped and suffocate (5). Drop side cribs have been around since the 1940's, but apparently manufacturers are making them cheaper (using plastic instead of metal) and thus less safe (2). Upside of an old crib, it probably won't eat your Cletus which is awesome irony because manufactures say old cribs might not comply with modern safety standards (2). In this case if your crib is 20+ years old, it's probably more functional then one made in the last 5 years. The federal government is thinking about banning the drop side crib altogether because there have been 7 million recalled drop side cribs since '05 (3). The ban would prevent public facilities (day cares & hotels) from using drop side cribs - so don't worry the police aren't going to kick in your door yet (4).

The companies recalling cribs are Evenflo, Child Craft, Jardine Enterprises, LaJobi, Million Dollar Baby & Simmons Juvenile Products (2). And this isn't just about products made in China people - these cribs are made in United States, Italy, Canada and seven other countries (5). And it's not about cost, some of these cribs are expensive (upwards of $500) (5). Most of the recalls are drop side cribs, but not all. If the Delta wooden stabilizer bar is installed incorrectly (on either drop side or stationary cribs), then the mattress can collapse and suffocate your Cletus (2). Did I mention that I am not a carpenter? Maybe all this bullshit is happening because cribs are complex and should not be assembled by the great majority of the public!?!

All this info is nice if you are in the crib market, but if you have already invest a fortune (several hundred at least) then what are you supposed to do? I mean you can't just send in your Cletus' bed and let him/her sleep god knows where while the crib manufacturer fixes the defect, provides you a fix it kit to figure out, or sends you a voucher. I guess, in the end, if you already own one of these, then you will have to assess how well if works for your family. At least, "consult the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) for the proper remedy" for your recalled crib; they have the info on the recalls and can help (4).

All the stationary side cribs scored 80 or more CR points (1). The drop side cribs didn't fair as well in the tests, most receiving D's and F's. It's clear consumer reports thinks parents should go with the stationary side cribs. Stationary cribs such as DaVinci Emily 4791 & Ikea Leksvik 601.086.63 score an overall excellent from CR and are a reasonable cost to the consumer (1). They are also much easier to find and obtain than the other cribs listed by CR.

Just got to have a drop side crib? Well some of them did score in the excellent zone. Getting a B rating is excellent for Consumer Reports. The Bellini Bella 4300 & Bellini Isabella 2000 both scored at least 80 of 100 during CR testing (1).


1. The Delta Jenny Lind 4750-1, just for the record, is clearly terrifying (scoring 29 of 100) (1). It scored the lowest and no other crib was even close to sucking as much as this. You might as well let you Cletus sleep in a drawer, manger, or laundry basket - all are safer than the Delta Jenny Lind.

2. StorkCraft cribs - Basically, they aren't selling them anymore, but if you come across one for like $2 then pass. StorkCraft had the single largest recall in Consumer Protection  history last year (3).

After all the recalls, it does make one wonder how these cribs are tested. Do they even put a baby in there to see if the damn thing works? Here's what the GB learned from all of this (not to sound like a communist - hee hee), it's seems to me that manufactures' use cheaper parts and sell cribs at a higher cost than ever. Instead of requiring the manufactures to use quality parts, the government would rather ban a particular type of crib. What's the point of the ban? If the crib is stationary side, but I a non-carpenter still assemble it & its parts are plastic crap that break, then it is still true the crib is a danger to my Cletus. Funny thing is - most of these cribs are still safer than car seats and there's not a word about those!

1. Consumer Reports, "Cribs"
2. JENNIFER C. KERR, "Over 2 million cribs recalled amid safety concerns", The Associated Press, June 24, 2010, p. lexis.
3. Lyndsey Layton, "Hazardous drop-side cribs face U.S. ban", The Washington Post, May 22, 2010, p. A01. 
4. Nedra Rhone, "Families face crib decision", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 22, 2010, p. 1D.
5. Patricia Callahan, "U.S. RECALLS 2 MILLION MORE DROP-SIDE CRIBS", The Baltimore Sun, June 25, 2010, p. 21A.

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