Crib-Related Deaths Strike 100 Infants a Year

New research argues against rolling back crib safety requirements.

ByABC News
February 17, 2011, 12:57 PM

Feb. 18, 2011 — -- Parents believe cribs are one of the safest places they can leave their kids, and while that's still true, parents need to take precautions when it comes to cribs. According to new statistics from Nationwide Children's Hospital, 10,000 infant ER visits a year are because of crib malfuntiontions or mishaps. What's more, 100 infants and toddlers each year die as a result of unsafe sleeping environments.

Conner Smith almost became one of these statistics. A year ago, his mother, Kelly Smith, 27, went to check on Conner, then a year old, and his twin brother, Ethan. She found Conner dangling through a broken slot in his crib. His shirt, caught on the broken piece, was strangling him and he was turning blue.

"I immediately lifted him down and yelled for my husband -- he's a paramedic. He started CPR and called 911," Smith says.

Conner was kept overnight at the hospital and "everything checked out," but before he could come home, Conner's father made sure to replace the crib.

"It was the crib we used with my daughter, and the boys had shared the up until they were about 6 months old," Kelly Smith says. "We never thought that it could be dangerous. You put your kid to bed and you get this sigh of relief that they're in their crib and safe. It definitely made us more aware that these things can happen. Parents should be inspecting their cribs every once in a while to see if they're worn out."

The study, published online Thursday, was released early so it its findings could be discussed at Thursday's congressional hearing on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which imposed stricter standards on children's products in 2008. The hearing served as a venue for trade and small business organizations, as well as child safety advocates, to voice their opinions.