We had been content to let Reagan sleep in her crib for as long as she was happy there. She’d been climbing in and out, with the help of a stepladder, since she was two years old. But, this summer, shortly after turning three, she discovered that cribs “are for babies,” and hasn’t stepped foot in hers’ since. Some of you are aghast that we let our toddler sleep in her crib past her second birthday, but, seriously, what’s the big deal? Crib or toddler bed with rails – it’s all the same. Our plan: crib to a twin, putting off the dent to our wallet for as long as possible.
First things, first. I had a crib to sell. I’ve been wondering about my drop-side crib’s resale value ever since the biggest U.S. crib recall in history this past year, even though my crib is not on the recall list. I needed to talk to the experts from whom I originally bought it: Guys and Dolls Furniture in Aurora, CO. It was a trip I had been looking forward to for my next purchase as well.
It was exactly three years ago that I bought Reagan’s crib at Guys and Dolls, after some serious scouting trips to the usual Babies ’R Us, Baby Depot and various department stores. I knew from the moment I walked into their 50,000 square foot showroom, filled with every imaginable (and unimaginable) way to make a kid’s bedroom the coolest room in the house, I was going to fall in love. Not only is the furniture top-notch, but their prices are competitive with the big name stores. And, since Guys and Dolls is family-owned and operated, I was being shown around and educated on crib options by the owner himself, who has lived this business since his father opened it 57 years ago. I left that day feeling confident in the choice I had made on a quality drop-side crib that was not only beautiful, well-made and fit our family’s needs, but safe for my baby. I was in love with this store.
Upon returning to Guys and Dolls, I was surprised to learn that they and most other children’s furniture stores across America, have stopped selling all drop-side cribs as part of a voluntary ban that took effect June 1, 2010, regardless of manufacturer or whether the crib made the recall list or not. The 32 tragic deaths tied to drop-side cribs since 2001 have all occurred because of defective or worn hardware (typically plastic), cheap wood resulting in broken slats or improper assembly of the drop-side (sometimes upside down), causing entrapment, suffocation or strangulation. No matter that some manufacturer’s cribs have consistently performed safely and without incident, a ban on the manufacturing and sale of all drop-side cribs will likely be put into effect by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission by the summer of 2011.
We all have great sympathy for the families effected by the faulty drop-sides sold by those companies, such as Stork Craft, Delta, Simplicity and most recently Pottery Barn, that shamelessly sacrificed safety for volume, putting cheap merchandise on the market (often made in China), but what now are the ramifications of the CPSC’s widely-cast net? Stores have lost thousands of dollars in inventory, manufacturers have halted production, closed factories or been put completely out of business, jobs have been lost, and parents are no longer afforded the option of buying a drop-side crib like those that entire families have grown up in and passed down for generations.
I loved my drop-side. It made life a whole lot easier, and I’m 5’8″. I can’t imagine being just 5′ tall and trying to lay my baby down at night with the mattress at its’ lowest position in a stationary side crib. Will this ban ultimately result in more babies falling out of cribs because the parents opted not to lower their mattress, allowing the baby to climb out? Sure, fewer babies are likely to die from a fall from their crib than entrapment, but could not the CPSC have done more to regulate drop-sides with stricter testing and safety standards so that safe, quality drop-sides would still be available today for families who choose them? Cribs that might have met those standards have now been relegated to the trash heap. Literally. It seems up to this point, the CPSC’s only way of dealing with faulty crib manufacturing was to rely on manufacturers to report incidents and then implement a recall. What standards could have been put in place to prevent those incidents in the first place and is the CPSC now just trying to save face with an over-reaching ban on the most popular style of crib since most of our grandparents were in diapers?
One lesson that can be taken from all of this is that as parents, we still need to remain vigilant about our children’s safety, no matter how safe a product has been proclaimed. If something doesn’t appear to be operating properly, trust your instincts and remove your child from possible harm. Rarely in life do we come across a product that doesn’t require some maintenance and cribs are no exception. Just like you regularly check the oil in your car, check your crib for loose slats or screws and tighten where necessary.
Despite learning that my crib is now almost completely worthless and will be difficult to even give away for free in this current climate of fear (it has been sitting on Craigslist for a month now at a 1/3 of its’ original price), I had yet another delightful shopping experience at Guys and Dolls, this time being shown around by the third generation of Rivkins.
The Rivkins first priority is the safety of their littlest customers. They stake their 57-year reputation on everything they sell. In light of the recent recalls, the Rivkins want to be sure Denver-area families have safe, quality cribs in their homes and so have made a most generous offer…
The Million Dollar Baby, 4-in-1 Emily Convertible Crib GIVEAWAY! Includes toddler guard rail and crib mattress!
A $430 Value!
Whether you have a crib that has been recalled and can’t afford to replace it, or you’re having your first child and your budget is strapped but you don’t want to sacrifice safety, just tell us why you, a friend or family member most deserve to win the Million Dollar Baby, 4-in-1 Emily convertible crib in a comment below.
Deadline for entries is Friday, September 24th at midnight. Open to Colorado residents only for local pick-up. Winner will be selected by the Rivkins and notified by email. Please be sure to include your email address in your contact info when you comment!
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