China-made cribs recalled in US after two infant deaths

24 September, 2007

The United States has announced a recall of 1 million cribs made in China after at least two babies became trapped and died in those cribs and over 60 other incidents were reported.

The recall of the cribs, made by Simplicity Incorporated, was the latest to hit Chinese-made consumer products, after the large-scale recalls of millions of Mattel toys found to contain lead paint or dangerous parts.

Two models of the cribs in question that were being sold for between $100 and $300 were recalled.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said it was recalling older-style Simplicity cots because the drop-side could became detached, creating a gap which could either trap or suffocate a child.

Two babies – one 9 months old and the other 6 months old – died allegedly after the drop-side of their cots were installed upside down and collapsed, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement.

The CPSC was also investigating the death of a one-year-old baby in another Simplicity crib in which the drop-side was installed upside down.

It has warned parents and caregivers to check all Simplicity cribs to make sure the drop-side is installed right side up.

According to the CPSC, drop-side failures result from both the hardware and crib design, which allow consumers to install unintentionally the drop-side upside down. This, in turn, can weaken the hardware and cause the drop-side to detach from the crib. When the drop-side detaches, it creates a gap in which infants can become entrapped.

The CPSC said it was aware of seven cases where babies had become trapped in their cribs and 55 other incidents. It was also investigating two cases which occurred even though the cot had been correctly put together.

The cribs were sold in department stores, children’s stores, and mass merchandisers across the United States from January 1998 through May 2007.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission urged consumers to check to see if their crib contains the recalled hardware. The recalled hardware has a flexible tab at the bottom of the lower tracks, and the top of the lower tracks is open.

More recent hardware, which is not subject to the recall, has the flexible tab located at the top of the lower track, and a permanent stop at the bottom.

Ken Waldman, president of the Pennsylvania-based Simplicity Incorporated, said, "Simplicity strives to make safe products; that is our number one priority. That’s why we worked with the CPSC to take this action.”

The recall of the cribs is bound to rattle consumers in the United States again about the safety of Chinese products after a series of scares involving popular toys such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbies, and Polly Pockets in recent months.

Meanwhile, US toy giant Mattel issued an unexpected apology to China, saying that the vast majority of the recent recalls of Chinese-made products were due to design flaws it had committed itself.

Thomas Debrowski, Mattel’s executive vice-president of worldwide operations, explained, “It is very important for everyone to understand that the vast majority of those products recalled were the result of a design flaw in Mattel, not through the manufacturing flaw in China’s manufacturers.”




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