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Deaths lead to massive crib recall

crib1_608147139.jpgBy David Liu

Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc is voluntarily recalling more than 2 million cribs in the U.S. and Canada after reports of potential risk of entrapment and suffocation, the U.S. government said on Monday, November 23, 2009.

Four deaths have resulted from suffocation in cribs with drop-down sides made by the company, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement posed on its website.

U.S. and Canadian officials have received a total of 110 reports of accidents associated with Stork Craft drop-side cribs.

The recall involves about 1.2 million cribs distributed in the United States and 968,00 units sold in Canada.

The problem is that the plastic hardware may malfunction causing the side to detach and creating some open space that is big enough to entrap the baby who can be suffocated in the position.

The cribs subject to the recall include Stork Craft cribs made between January 1993 and October 2009 including 147,000 with the Fisher-Price logo.

The US safety agency said parents should stop using the recalled cribs immediately and contact the manufacturer for a free repair kit.

The current crib recall by Stork Craft is not the first. Actually on January 13, 2009, the company issued a recall for more than 500,000 cribs including 92,000 with the Fisher-Price logo because of the same old problems: entrapment and suffocation.

That crib recall involved Stork Craft Baby cribs and Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo with manufacturing and distribution dates between May 2000 and November 2008.

Crib problems are common. And the action taken by the federal government would never be fast enough.

In 2007, Chicago Tribune reported that Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill asked the CPSC to explain why it took the agency more than two years and the deaths of three infants before it finally recalled 1 million cribs for design and hardware flaws.

This time, some critics say that the CPSC should have done something to prevent some incidents rather than waited for the manufacturer to voluntarily recall the dangerous baby cribs.

Malfunction of a crib which results in entrapment and suffocation is not the only risk associated with the crib. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) can occur in infants sleeping in cribs.

To prevent SIDS,the CPSC suggests that parents place their baby on his or her back in a crib with a firm tight-fitting mattress and avoid putting pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toy in the crib.

The agency also suggests that parents use a sleeper instead of a blanket. If a blanket is used, they should place their baby "with feet to foot of the crib and tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, covering baby only as high as his/her chest." And they should use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made fro crib use.