Crib safety standards could be law

The side of a crib


Bill Radke: Last fall, the company Stork Craft recalled 2 million baby cribs. Infants were getting trapped and sometimes suffocated by the cribs' sliding side panels. It was the latest and largest of several crib recalls. And this week, crib safety is at the top of the list for consumer advocates in Washington, as Marketplace's Rico Gagliano reports.

Rico Gagliano: A nonprofit group called ASTM International sets safety standards for hundreds of consumer products, including cribs, and its standards now prohibit those potentially dangerous sliding crib panels. But the standards are voluntary. Today, the government's Consumer Product Safety Commission will meet with ASTM and move towards making those standards law.

Scott Wolfson is a Safety Commission spokesman:

Scott Wolfson We have a mandate from the Congress to take the voluntary standards and make them into mandatory rules. We can toughen them up, but we can also take what's out there that could work and try to make it into a mandatory rule as quickly as possible.

A 2008 federal law requires the Commission to come up with mandatory standards for a slew of children's products. But the wave of recalls has pushed crib safety to the fore. Which is why a House subcommittee is holding a hearing Thursday to hear what the Commission's done so far.

Nancy Cowles is among those testifying. She's with the consumer group Kids In Danger, and she'd like to see new rules requiring more stringent safety tests for cribs.

Nancy Cowles: The same problems have existed for 10 years and nothing has been done. We're glad to see that it's now a crisis and people are acting.

The Safety Commission says it aims to have federal regulations on the books by the end of the year.

In Los Angeles, I'm Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.

About the author

Rico Gagliano co-hosts and co-produces Marketplace’s “Small Talk” segment.
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