Feds tighten crib-safety rules for public facilities

Rules begin Friday for child care centers, hotels, other public accommodations

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Child care centers, hotels and all public accommodation facilities are being held to a new standard as of Friday when it comes to crib safety.

The Consumer Product Safety Commissions gave the facilities a December 28 deadline to upgrade their cribs following the deaths of young victims.

Studies found 10,000 infants are checked into emergency rooms every year because of a crib malfunction or preventable accident.  All drop-side cribs have been recalled in recent years, but many were still in use -- prompting the new regulation.

"I think this is kind of making up for things that were lax in the past, making up for lost time to make things safer for children," said pediatrician Hilleary Rockwell.

Under the new standards traditional drop- side cribs are banned altogether. This style crime has been a leading cause of death for kids, according to the CPSC.

"What we found was that the hardware was faulty and was partially detaching at the bottom," said Kim Dulic of the CPSC. "As the children sleep or play, they would (get) wedged in between the rail and the mattress."

The new federal guidelines call for stronger slats and mattress supports, an improvement in the quality of hardware and more rigorous testing. A CPSC spokesman says their agency is also trying to raise awareness, so parents don't take their child's safety for granted at places other than their home.

"I think the best way a parent can be sure is ask the question, 'Do these meet cribs meet current federal safety standards?'" said Dulic.

"These guidelines aren't just for those facilities, but for all the cribs sold in the US," Dr. Rockwell said. "So a private person is not held to the same standard but the best cribs are the new cribs."

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