Common Defects in Infant Cribs and Playpens
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Stewart J. Eisenberg with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
Cribs and playpens are one of the leading causes of infant injury and wrongful death, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable and may not have the strength or coordination to extricate themselves from a dangerous or entrapped environment. This is why designers and manufacturers of infant and child products are required to meet higher standards of product safety. When a designer or manufacturer creates a product such as a crib or playpen that does not account for the basic safety of the child, they may be considered liable for any resulting injuries and subsequent damages.
Some of the most common defects with cribs and playpens include:
- Drop-sides: Drop-side cribs are considered dangerous enough that they have been largely banned, yet many parents may continue to use these products, unaware of the recall. Drop-side cribs may allow for babies to wedge themselves into the side between the slats and their mattress, potentially trapping and suffocating them.
- Improperly spaced slats: Slats that are spaced too widely may provide just enough room for an infant or small child to get stuck, potentially resulting in suffocation or other injuries. Two finger-widths is considered the maximum safe spacing between crib slats.
- Corner posts or sharp edges: These features present several risk factors to its occupants. Corner posts and sharp edges not only create an opportunity for painful lacerations, but may also allow blankets, clothing, and toys to become entangled, potentially injuring or suffocating the child.
- Improper mattress: Infant mattresses are made specifically to fit inside appropriate cribs so that there is no space for the child to roll between the mattress and the side of the crib. If an infant or young child becomes trapped between the mattress and another surface, such as the side of the crib, they may suffocate or sustain other injuries.
- Toxic materials: Paint and wood finishes used in children’s cribs and playpens may contain toxic substances which result in temporary or even long-term injuries for an infant or young child. Similarly, infant mattresses may release gases causing poisoning and other complications.
- Unstable structure: Any crib or playpen that may fall over or collapse on a child is extremely dangerous. Not only can these cause a variety of serious injuries, but may further lead to the child being trapped or suffocated.
If you suspect your child’s crib or playpen is unsafe, do not continue using it.
If you have reason to believe that your child’s crib, playpen, or another toy may cause some kind of harm to your child, the first step is to cease using it. Then it’s a good idea to do a quick web search looking for any recall notices that may have been issued or reports from other parents whose child has been injured or nearly injured by the product.
If your child has already been injured by the product, it’s important to seek emergency medical attention both for your child’s safety as well as to ensure an official document exists noting what happened. Taking pictures of the product and storing it somewhere safe away from the child until it can be analyzed by experts is another important step to making your case if you think a crib or playpen is dangerous.
To learn more about common defects in cribs, playpens, and other children's products, or for help filing a claim on behalf of your injured baby, reach out to a product liability attorney right away.