Health Highlights: Feb. 28, 2008

The wooden cribs, imported by Munire Furniture Inc. of Piscataway, N.J., have faulty brackets that don't allow the mattresses to be fully lowered. This could let children inside the cribs crawl over the railing and fall. No falls or injuries have been reported yet, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The recalled cribs include: Majestic Curved Top cribs with model number 9500; Majestic Flat Top cribs with model number 9000; Essex cribs with model number 7100; Brighton/Sussex cribs with model number 9100, and Captiva cribs with model number 5100. Only cribs with manufacture dates between Nov. 1, 2005, and Nov. 1, 2007, are included in the recall.

Also Thursday, the CPSC warned that placing pillows and other soft bedding in babies' cribs is dangerous.

From 2002 to 2004, nursery products were involved in the deaths of 241 U.S. children under age 5, according to the CPSC. Of those incidents, about 40 percent involved cribs, with soft bedding cited as the major contributing factor. In many of those cases, children suffocated while lying face down on pillows or other bedding, the Associated Press reported.

Cribs should be free of adult pillows and blankets, stuffed animals and baby quilts, said CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese. In addition, babies should be placed on their backs in a crib that meets current safety standards.

Babies becoming trapped in ill-fitting crib mattresses can also lead to deaths. The CPSC said there should never be a gap larger than two fingers at any point between the sides of the crib and the mattress, and old, broken and modified cribs shouldn't be used, the AP reported.

From 2002 to 2004, there were 36 baby deaths related to baby baths and bath seats. In all those cases, the deaths occurred when caregivers left the baby unattended, the CPSC said.

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FDA Needs More Inspectors to Monitor Foreign Firms, Official Says

More inspectors and a comprehensive computer database are needed to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration improve its monitoring of foreign-made drugs and drug ingredients entering the United States, an agency official told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday.

Due to limited resources, the FDA each year inspects only about 10 percent (300) of foreign facilities that ship drugs and drug ingredients to the United States, said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Associated Press reported.

During her appearance before an appropriations panel responsible for funding the FDA, Woodcock was asked what additional resources the agency needed. While Woodcock often did not provide specifics, she did say that hiring more investigators and upgrading the agency's computer systems would be the top priorities if more money were made available, the AP said.

Under the Bush administration, funding for foreign inspections has decreased nearly 30 percent, even though the number of firms to be inspected has increased, noted panel chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the news service reported.

A Government Accountability Office report released last November said the FDA doesn't know how many foreign firms are actually subject to inspection.

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Panel No Longer Prefers ProQuad Vaccine

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