In the 1970s and 80s, crib death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), was a common cause of death in children under one year of age. Originally thought to be a brain condition of the child (and many still support the theory of oxygen deprivation at some point between birth and the crib death incident), today’s definition of crib death cites many other causes. While crib death doesn’t occur nearly as often, it is more likely to occur as a result of product or manufacturer defect.
New studies show that certain gases emitted from the crib mattress or other materials that come in contact with the child are undetectable initially, but could cause a child to stop breathing or suffocate. In addition to the many toys each year that are pulled off the shelves, a recent recall by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that bath seats, crib rails, car seats and water bottles can cause hazards, as well. These very toys and furniture we purchase for our children have been recalled due to ways the child can become stuck, covered or suffocated. And, substandard living conditions among the family also contribute to crib death when there is improper ventilation or second-hand smoke in the room, babies being placed on waterbeds and children who are left unattended in a crib for long periods of time.
No parent wants to purchase items that will be hazardous to their children, but the fact remains the manufacturers will still make these products available to the general public until something does happen or a feature of the product does not perform as expected. Many new products on the market fail the national standards.
When you purchase furniture or crib materials for your children, here are some things to take into consideration:
- Look at the recall list and make sure your purchases do not include an item on that list.
- Check the current products in your baby’s room and playpen, and search for any recalls involving that product or manufacturer.
- Assemble the furniture correctly–do not leave out any screws, steps or materials.
- Remember that babies are resilient, but are not proactive to protecting themselves. Babies rely on us to take care of them and make sure their surroundings are safe and secure for years to come.
- When in the crib, be sure your baby is free of any objects like blankets, stuffed toys and crib bumpers. The items are enticing to us and we can hardly resist purchasing them, but all have the ability to smother or suffocate the baby if moved around throughout the night.
If your child has been injured or has died due from crib death, you will want to be sure you seek counsel for your situation from a firm who specializes in a situation, which could include product defect litigation. Let’s unite in our efforts to make crib death a non-existent term, in whatever form it takes. We can do that when we take the extra precautions to give our babies a safe living environment.