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CPSC Saves Lives Through Voluntary Standards and Mandatory Regulation: Crib Safety

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has combined voluntary standards development with mandatory regulations to prevent almost 200 deaths to young children every year involving cribs.

In 1973, it was estimated that as many as 200 infants died annually in the United States from injuries associated with baby cribs. CPSC recognized the need for safer cribs, and in 1973 and 1976, published mandatory standards for full-size and non-full-size cribs, respectively. These standards included requirements that addressed side height, slat spacing, mattress fit, and other factors. In 1982, the CPSC mandatory standards for cribs were amended to also prohibit hazardous cutouts in crib end panels.

CPSC also participated, through ASTM (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) in the development and revision of voluntary standards for cribs. Published in 1986 and 1989, these standards addressed additional hazards such as entanglement on cornerposts on all cribs and structural and mechanical failure on full-size cribs. An ASTM standard to address structural and mechanical problems on non-full-size cribs is currently being developed.

Picture of a graph that illustrates the number of Annual Deaths Associated with CribsThese standards have effectively addressed most safety hazards associated with new cribs. In recent years, few new cribs have been involved in fatal incidents. Despite increases in the at-risk population of infants and young children, deaths have been reduced to about 50 annually and occur primarily in older, previously used cribs. CPSC estimates that without safety standards, deaths associated with baby cribs would have increased to as many as 240 deaths annually

Current CPSC efforts to address crib hazards have focused on assembly and maintenance problems associated with older cribs. In August 1995, CPSC was joined by representatives of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Danny Foundation, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, the Consumer Federation of America, and others at a press conference to highlight the hazards of older, used cribs. These groups were also involved in a national campaign to promote safe cribs during Baby Safety Month in September 1995. As part of this campaign, used crib roundups were held in San Francisco, Denver, Rochester, and Washington, D.C. The campaign received extensive national publicity and was extremely successful in alerting parents and caregivers to important crib safety issues.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054.

Consumers can also report product hazards via electronic mail by sending a message to info@cpsc.gov.

Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20207
(301) 504-7908

Comments: info@cpsc.gov

Revised: May 5, 1996
URL: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/success/cribs.html

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