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Are used drop-side cribs dangerous products?

As a family prepares to welcome a new baby into their lives, hand-me-downs are often very welcome. Gently worn clothing and toys from friends and family members can present a huge cost savings for a Fairfax, Virginia family as new baby expenses mount. What about a hand-me-down crib? A crib is often one of the pricier items a baby needs, and some families may think a second-hand crib sounds like a great way to save money. Before acquiring an older crib, however, families should first ensure that the crib is not a drop-side crib, which is a potentially dangerous product.

A drop-side crib is a crib designed to allow one or both sides of the crib to move up and down. The perceived benefit of a drop-side crib is that it may be easier to get the baby in and out of the crib when one side is lowered.

However, the Consumer Products Safety Commission determined that such cribs are actually dangerous and defective products, as they present the possibility of serious injury and even death for the babies in the cribs. Hardware in the drop-side cribs can slip or break, which may lead to a gap where a baby could become stuck between the crib's side and the mattress, thus leading to strangulation or suffocation.

The CPSC banned drop-side cribs in 2011, and prior to that, millions of drop-side cribs were recalled. Product liability claims arose due to the defective design, as an alternative design could have avoided the problems created by this faulty design.

No parent wants to place his or her child in a dangerous situation. Parents should be aware of the risks of drop-side cribs and avoid them. If a friend or family member offers a hand-me-down crib, it would be wise to first ensure that it is not a drop-side crib.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Drop-Side Cribs," accessed June 8, 2015

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