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32 deaths blamed on drop-side cribs in nine-year period

| Saturday, May 8, 2010

WASHINGTON -- At least 32 young children have been strangled or suffocated in the past nine years by defects and other problems of drop-side cribs, the government said Friday in another warning about the type of cribs.

In the same time period, there were another 14 reported children's deaths in drop-side cribs, although safety officials have not determined conclusively if a drop-side problem caused those deaths, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said yesterday.

The federal agency said there have been hundreds of incidents caused by or related to drop-side detachments in cribs made by various manufacturers.

Drop-side cribs have one side that moves up and down to allow parents, especially shorter adults, to lift children from the cribs more easily.

CPSC reiterated yesterday that drop-side cribs tend to be less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed-sides. The side that moves up and down -- the drop side -- can break, deform or detach, creating a dangerous gap between the crib mattress and dropped side.

In the past five years, the agency said it has announced 11 recalls involving more than 7 million drop-side cribs attributed to suffocation and strangulation hazards.

CPSC issued a recall Thursday of 170,000 drop-side cribs -- under the names C&T International; Sorelle; and Golden Baby -- because of infant deaths. Last week, the agency ordered a recall of thousands of Simplicity and Graco cribs.

Some of the 32 deaths occurred when the drop side detached without caregivers noticing. Others deaths happened when a consumer tried to repair a drop-side crib or a caregiver installed a crib's drop-side incorrectly because of confusing or incorrect directions.

For more information about product recalls, consumers can call 800-638-2772 or visit http://www.cpsc.gov .

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