Dangers of drop-side cribs

As of December 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the manufacture and sale of what it calls “dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs.” The CPSC recognized the danger of various drop-side cribs for years, issuing recalls on more than 11 million such cribs between 2007 and 2010 alone. During this period, at least 32 children died due to structural problems with their cribs.

The CPSC determined these safety issues with drop-side cribs:

  • They have a tendency to be less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed sides.
  • The hardware is prone to break, deform or experience other problems during normal or foreseeable use.
  • When hardware breaks or deforms, the drop side can detach in one or more corners from the crib. 
  • If an infant or toddler rolls or moves into the space created by a partially detached drop side, the child can become entrapped or wedged between the crib mattress and the drop side and suffocate. 
  • Infants can also strangle in the “V” shape formed by a drop side that detaches in an upper corner.
  • The older the crib, the more problems can be expected. 

Don’t buy a drop-side crib and don’t allow your child to sleep in one. If you can’t replace an existing drop-side crib right away, use a bassinet if your baby is less than 6 months old and is not yet able to push up to her hands and knees. You can also use a play yard. And always remember to never put additional bedding such as pillows, thick quilts, or anything plush into your baby’s sleeping space. More babies die every year from suffocation in plush sleeping environments than from defective cribs.

Click here to see if your crib, bassinet, or play yard has been recalled. 

Last updated December 26, 2020

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