WASHINGTON (AP) – The baby crib, usually a safe haven for little ones, became a death trap for 6-month-old Bobby Cirigliano.
The side rail on his drop-side crib slid off the tracks and trapped his head and neck between the mattress and the malfunctioning side rail. His face pressed against the mattress, the boy suffocated.
“I just don’t feel complete anymore,” says his mother, Susan Cirigliano of North Bellmore on New York’s Long Island.
Bobby was one of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000 who suffocated or were strangled in a drop-side crib, which has a side that moves up and down to allow parents to lift children from the cribs more easily than cribs with fixed sides. Drop-sides, around for decades and probably slept in by many of today’s parents, are suspected in an additional 14 infant fatalities during that time.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulates cribs, has warned about the problem. Its chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, has pledged to ban the manufacture and sale of cribs by the end of the year with a new performance standard that would make fixed-side cribs mandatory. It could be several months into 2011 before becoming effective.
The industry has already started phasing out drop-sides and big retailers such as Babies R Us and Wal-Mart have taken them off sale floors. Yet there are still plenty for sale on the Internet, and that’s part of the reason Congress is getting involved.