Crib Safety: What Every Parent Should Know

VIDEO: "GMA" goes inside a testing lab to show you.

It's one of the biggest purchases soon-to-be parents make, buying a crib for baby.

"A crib is the one product where you're going to put your child to sleep and leave the room," Joe Shamie, the president of Delta Children's Products, one of the nation's largest crib manufacturers, told "Good Morning America."

That's why Shamie's company, Delta Enterprises, puts cribs through a series of punishing tests, as "GMA's" Elisabeth Leamy learned in a walk-through of the company's safety labs.

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

It's also why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency overseeing crib safety, issued sweeping new rules in June requiring crib manufacturers to follow more stringent safety procedures.

Read on for the top tips every parent should know when it comes to keeping their babies safe in cribs, as provided to "GMA" by Delta and outlined by the CPSC.

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

PHOTO: Delta Children's Products.
Courtesy of Delta Childrens Products
Delta's Crib Safety Tips
Joe Shamie, president and CEO of Delta Enterprise, one of the nation's leading producers of nursery and toddler furniture, shares these important tips with "GMA" viewers that every parent and caregiver should know.

This information can also be found on the Delta Children's Products website.

Crib Purchase and Assembly

Crib slats or spindles should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and none should be loose or missing.

Follow the manufacturer's guidelines on the appropriate weight and size of babies who can safely use the crib. These can usually be found in the manufacturer's instruction literature.

After initial setup and on a regular basis, inspect to make sure the crib is stable and there are is missing, loose or broken hardware.

Delta recommends that you purchase and assemble your crib at least one week prior to the scheduled use to give ample time to insure for correct assembly and that you have all necessary hardware and parts.

Make sure there are no cutout areas on the headboard or footboard so baby's head cannot get trapped.

Make sure there is no cracked or peeling paint.

Make sure there are no splinters or rough edges.

Make sure there are no missing or loose slats.

Look for the JPMA certification seal on all cribs to ensure the crib is up to federal safety standards. All Delta products bear the JPMA seal and meet or exceed federal safety requirements.

In the Nursery

Make sure to read thoroughly all warnings and safety information provided with your crib.

Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep.

Never place pillows, toys or soft bedding into the crib.

Never place the crib near windows, draperies, blinds, space heaters or wall-mounted decorative accessories with long cords, which can cause serious injury or death by strangulation.

The crib mattress should fit snugly with no obvious gaps between the edge of the mattress and the crib side. Otherwise, the baby can get trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib.

Proper Maintenance and Storage of Cribs

When properly cared for, cribs are intended to last for years. To ensure the safety of your crib for current and future use, follow these guidelines:

For the safest product use, be sure to always read and follow all manufacturers' instructions. Follow them exactly.

When storing your crib for future use, save the instructions and keep them with the crib. Instructions can often be found on manufacturers' website.

When storing your crib, keep all parts together and labeled for future assembly. Do not store in a wet cold basement or a dry hot attic, which can cause deformation and weakening of wood parts over time.

Do not try to repair the crib without manufacturer-approved hardware. Don't substitute parts. If a part or a screw is missing, contact the manufacturer. Delta and most manufacturers will provide a replacement part.

After initial setup and on a regular basis, inspect to make sure the crib is stable and there are no missing, loose or broken hardware or slats.

CPSC Crib Safety Tips
As of June 28, 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) began requiring that all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) in the United States must comply with new, more stringent federal safety standards.

The new rules, which apply to full-sized and non-full-sized cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs. The new guidelines also require manufacturers to strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and perform more rigorous tests.

Read below for full details of the new rules, and how they affect you, the consumer. More information is also available on the CPSC's website at

As a consumer, what can I do if I have a drop-side crib?

Some drop-side crib manufacturers have immobilizers that fit their cribs. Drop-side crib immobilizers are devices that are used to secure drop sides to prevent dangerous situations in which the drop-side either partially or fully separates from the crib. As part of a recall, CPSC staff works with companies to provide fixes, or remedies, for products. For drop-side cribs, that remedy has been immobilizers.

Check the CPSC's website for companies that have recalled their cribs and are providing immobilizers to secure the drop-side on the cribs. These immobilizers were evaluated and approved by CPSC staff for use with these particular drop-side cribs.

If your drop-side crib has not been recalled, you can call the manufacturer and ask if they are making an immobilizer for your crib. Remember, though, that those particular immobilizers have not been tested or evaluated by CPSC staff for use with your specific crib.

Note that a drop-side crib, even with an immobilizer installed, will not meet the new CPSC crib standards.

Is a sturdy, non-drop-side crib OK for a consumer to use?

It is unlikely that your old crib will meet the new crib standards. The new standards require stronger hardware and rigorous testing to prove a crib's durability. If you continue to use your old crib, you are encouraged to check the crib frequently to make sure that all hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing or broken parts. Note that after Dec. 28, 2012, child-care facilities, family child-care homes and places of public accommodations, such as hotels and motels, must provide cribs that comply with the new and improved standards.

My drop-side crib has not been recalled, but I am worried about using it with my baby. Can I return it for a refund?

Manufacturers and retailers are not required to accept returned drop-side cribs or to provide a refund if the crib has not been recalled.

Is it OK for me as a consumer to resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards?

A consumer should not resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards, such as trying to resell the product through an online auction site or donating to a local thrift store. CPSC recommends disassembling the crib before discarding it.

Is the answer different if a piece ("immobilizer") has been added to my drop-side crib to prevent the side from moving up and down?

Consumers should not sell or give away a drop-side crib that has an added immobilizer because it still will not meet the new crib standards.

If I am unable to purchase a new crib, what can I do to keep my baby safe?

If you continue to use your old crib, you are encouraged to:

Check CPSC's crib recall list to make sure that your crib has not been recalled.

Check the crib frequently to make sure all of the hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing or broken parts.

If your crib has a drop-side rail, stop using that drop-side function. If the crib has been recalled, request a free immobilizer from the manufacturer or retailer (particular immobilizer will vary depending on the crib).

Another option is to use a portable play yard, as long as it is not a model that has been recalled previously.

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