5 Signs That Your Baby’s Crib Might Be Defective
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of George E. McLaughlin with McLaughlin Law Firm.
Infant and toddler cribs are among the most important purchases a family can make for their new little one. Babies and young children require more sleep than the average adult, so they spend a lot of time in bed. Parents want to know that their child is safe both in and out of sight when they are in bed. While baby monitors and cameras can certainly assist with that, the crib itself could present a danger all its own.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), cribs and playpens are one of the leading causes of infant injury and wrongful death. ABC News published an article about crib safety, which pointed out that approximately 100 infants and toddlers die each year as a result of unsafe sleeping environments. If your child was injured or died as the result of a dangerous or defective crib or playpen, you may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer, not only seeking compensation for your damages but also protecting other families from enduring the same risks.
5 signs that your baby’s crib might be defective include:
- The crib has drop-sides. Drop-side cribs have been largely banned due to the opportunity they create for infants and toddlers to accidentally become wedged between the slats and the mattress, where they could be trapped, injured, and/or suffocated. While drop-side cribs are not typically produced anymore, families using pre-owned cribs or a crib used for prior children may be more likely to own one of these out-of-date sleep environments. However, it’s important to note that even if a product is recalled or no longer produced, if an injury or death occurs, it may still be possible to pursue the manufacturer in court.
- There is ample space between the slats. Slats can provide much-needed structure and strength to a crib, and they provide a way for parents to see their sleeping child at all times from all angles. However, when the slats on a crib are spaced too widely apart, this may provide enough room for an infant or toddler to become stuck, potentially resulting in suffocation or other injuries. Two finger-widths is considered the maximum safe spacing between crib slats; however, it’s important to note that crib manufacturers are fully aware of this and other safety standards which they are legally obligated to abide by, regardless of whether or not parents are aware of the proper slat-distancing.
- There are corner posts and/or sharp edges. Nothing on an infant/toddler/child crib or bed should be sharp. There should be no risk of an infant or young child suffering a laceration to sharp edges. However, corner posts and sharp edges pose much more than a simple laceration risk. These features may allow blankets, clothing, and toys to become stuck or entangled, potentially injuring or suffocating the child. Cribs should be smooth, safe, and should not have any particular feature that is likely to catch and hold anything that may share the crib with the child at any given time.
- It is made from toxic or flammable materials. Whenever a product is being designed for children, it’s particularly important to check for toxic and/or flammable materials. Manufacturers know to avoid these, but negligence or efforts to cut cost can allow these materials to slip through until a child suffers as a result. Paint and wood finishes in particular can be a problem in infant and toddler cribs, and can even result in temporary or long-term injuries. Similarly, certain infant mattresses can release poisonous gases that may cause health complications for the infant or toddler who sleeps on top of them.
- It looks or feels unstable/flimsy. Infant and toddler cribs should be hard to knock over and/or break apart. If a crib is easy to tip or cannot stand up to much pressure, this could lead to situations where the structure falls over or collapses, trapping or injuring the child. This scenario can lead to suffocation if the child does not have the strength to free themself, as well a myriad of other injuries from having a crib or part of a crib collapse on top of them. If you have any doubt about the stability of your child’s crib, it’s important to take a closer look and determine whether or not your child’s crib may be defective.
To learn more about how to identify a defective baby crib, or for help filing a claim if your child was injured in a crib or playpen, maintain possession of the item and reach out to an experienced product liability attorney in your area.