I’m not saying that putting a baby to sleep in a crib is riskier than co-sleeping. So much depends on the situation. Also, it’s hard to gather accurate statistics, because we don’t know what percentage of children co-sleep, mainly because parents who do it are afraid to admit it. And children often alternate between cribs and their parents’ beds.
So here is the latest baby furniture news: Cribs with drop-down sides may be outlawed by Congress.
Bobby was one of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000 who suffocated or were strangled in a drop-side crib, which has a side that moves up and down to allow parents to lift children from the cribs more easily than cribs with fixed sides. Drop-sides, around for decades and probably slept in by many of today’s parents, are suspected in an additional 14 infant fatalities during that time.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulates cribs, has warned about the problem. Its chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, has pledged to ban the manufacture and sale of cribs by the end of the year with a new performance standard that would make fixed-side cribs mandatory. It could be several months into 2011 before becoming effective.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is preparing a law to ban the manufacture and use of drop-side cribs.
I predict that changing crib designs will lead to fewer babies sleeping in them. It’s not easy to lift a heavy infant in and out of a crib with a high railing, especially in the middle of the night. Babies will be more likely to fall, too. Parents will be forced to buy the newest crib models, whether or not they can afford them.
I guess the next step is a law prohibiting parents from putting babies to sleep in a crib with drop-down sides, and prosecuting parents for doing so.
But who knew, all those years, that we risked our kids’ lives by having them sleep in cribs.
Photo credit: Afroswede
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