Bungling nanny trashes 100,000 cribs

Around the country today, CPSC regulations are forcing retailers to throw out new, unused baby cribs — estimates of the number range higher than 100,000 — that the federal government itself considers safe enough to be used in day cares. I explain the latest Nanny State snafu in a new post at Cato at Liberty.

More: Quin Hillyer, CFIF; Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason. And CPSC commissioner Anne Northup corrects a misimpression in some parts of the press:

The new standards ban drop-side cribs. But the standards also prohibit the sale, new or used, of all cribs – both drop-side and fixed-side – that are not tested to the new standards by a private laboratory. Because very few cribs that were not originally manufactured to the new standards will ever be tested, the new standards essentially ban all such cribs – drop-side and fixed side. As reported in today’s press, millions of drop-side cribs have been recalled. On the other hand, tens of millions of fixed side cribs manufactured to previous standards have never been recalled, never been found to be unsafe, and now also cannot be sold new or resold used.


  • Too bad they cannot deliver the offending cribs to the office of Inez Tennenbaum for disposal.

  • 11 million cribs of which many were used for more than one child and 39 deaths that most probably were not the fault of the crib, but the adult who assembled and used the crib. I checked the fastenings on my cribs every so often and tightened the screws as needed. And tightening was needed every so often, especially after a child started pulling up to stand in a crib and bouncing up and down.

    I am sorry about the 39 deaths, the death of a child is always a tragedy. But the loss of all that inventory is also a tragedy.

  • Cribs will now be more expensive and more infants will end up sleeping with their parents and end up being accidentally suffocated.

  • Drop-sides have been gone for a couple years now. This gets rid of cribs that passed the appropriate ASTM requirements but may or may not pass when retightening is not allowed (maybe they would, easier for liability to dumpster them though). Can’t wait to see new mom reactions to the ever bigger warning labels.

    Oh, and did someone mention pool safety? 48 deaths in ONE MONTH is a success, whereas 39 in 10+ years is a failure.

  • Jack Wilson –

    The crib ban is silly, but that’s no reason to buy into another nanny state myth. Co-sleeping with parents is perfectly safe for sane, sober parents. The horror stories of suffocating have, in every case I’ve seen, turned out to conclusively involve, or probably involve, drunk or stoned parents whose bodies do not have the same reflexes.

    I have yet to see a good study that found real danger after correcting for that.

    On the other hand, co-sleeping is associated with less risk of SIDS. That may be because mom’s (or dad’s) heartbeat helps to regulate baby’s, or just because parents notice stopped breathing or lack of movement right away when baby is right there, as opposed to down the hall.

    It’s also associated, for many, with better parental sleep, because feeding, if nursing, involves rolling over rather than waking to go down the hall. And by facilitating nursing, that also triggers the many health benefits linked to nursing.

    It also saves money not spent on cribs, formula, and medical care.