Consumer Alert: How Safe Is Your Child's Crib?

VIDEO: "GMA" goes inside a testing lab to show you.
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Joe Shamie, president of Delta Children's Products, one of the nation's largest producers of nursery and toddler furniture, says he can't sleep at night unless he knows babies are sleeping safely in his company's cribs.

"A crib is the one product where you're going to put your child to sleep, and leave the room," Shamie, himself a father of four, told "Good Morning America." "The majority of their day is spent inside the crib."

That's why his company, Delta, puts every one of its cribs through a series of punishing tests in a secret lab, designed to ensure every square inch of each crib is tested.

Click here to read the top crib safety tips every parent should know.

"72,000 times we are shaking this crib back and forth, back and forth, trying to see if any screw loosens up," Shamie said as he demonstrated the method to "GMA's" Elisabeth Leamy during a tour of the company's lab. "If a screw loosens up, we fail."

Web Extra: Take a behind-the-scenes look inside Delta's crib safety lab.

Before a Delta crib arrives in a store or on the doorstep of a new nursery, it must first survive five rigorous tests in the Delta lab.

The first test, the screw test, is followed by a mattress support test designed to make sure that any "monkeys jumping on the bed" won't get hurt.

Test number three involves 30 pounds of hammering to ensure that cribs won't fall apart if older brothers and sisters climb in too.

The lab's fourth test ensures the crib's railing can withstand even greater weight.

"In this particular case we're trying to emulate a parent putting their foot up and leaning over and talking to their child, putting pressure on the side rail," Shamie explained. "So we hang the crib, and then we add 100 pounds to the side and we let it hang as dead weight on the side of the crib."

The fifth, and final, test involves using a lead gun to make sure the crib does not have any traces of lead or other heavy metals.

New Guidelines Apply Only to New Cribs

Since June 28 of this year, all newly manufactured cribs have been required to undergo CPSC-mandated testing.

Delta says it tests above and beyond the tests required by the government.

The newly-mandated testing only applies to newly manufactured cribs, so old cribs may still fall through the cracks.

"That is the number one issue facing the industry," Shamie told "GMA." "Parents buy used cribs from every place, from eBay to Craigslist to just a thrift shop."

"They take those cribs with missing parts and then assemble them with rope, cable ties, duct tape, etc," he said. "And that is the most unsafe thing you can do for your child."

Michele Witte, of Bellmore, NY, is one mother who learned that lesson the hard way.

Her son, Tyler, was 10-months-old when she went into his bedroom the morning of December 12, 1997, to wake him and, instead, found his lifeless body.

Tyler's neck had become stuck overnight in a gap between his crib's side rail and headboard created when a single screw had become loose. She called 911, but Tyler had suffocated and was not able to be brought back to life.

"It's a very horrific experience to be saving up for a 1st birthday party and to spend that money on a tiny casket," Witte said. "No parent should go through that."

The new rules issued in June by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission made it illegal to sell old, outdated cribs like those that failed Witte's son in 1997, yet "GMA" easily found hundreds of old cribs for sale on the Internet.

Used Cribs Put to the Test "GMA" purchased two of those cribs online and brought them to Delta's crib safety lab to see how they would fare.

The first stop in the safety lab was the slat test, where it was a totally different story testing our older, illegal cribs.

The slats on these cribs immediately broke upon impact.

When testing the rail, pounding on the crib 35 times sent the support hardware breaking free, meaning a sleeping baby could easily slide off or out of the crib.

Shamie's advice for soon-to-be parents was clear and unchanged: When buying a crib, buy new.

"You can buy a really safe crib for $120 that will meet every one of the new latest safety standards," Shamie told "GMA." People spend that much money on a pair of sneakers. This is a product that will keep your child safe and give you years of comfort."

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.

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