The Low-Down on Drop-Side Cribs

Dayton Children’s Soon-to-be-Mommy Blogger: Jessica Saunders

After another wave of product recalls on baby cribs I’ve been getting the question: What is the deal with drop-side cribs?

Drop-side cribs are a very popular design due to their convenience  for parents.  “Drop-side” means that parents can lower one side of the crib for better access to the baby.  No doubt – this comes in handy during late night feedings and when a parent’s body is exhausted.

However, this design allows for a gap to form between the crib mattress and part of the drop-side.  Injuries and death can occur when a baby becomes trapped and suffocates in that gap.

Over the past couple years over 20 different cribs and 4 million units have been recalled by various manufacturers. Most of the recalls have been due to durability or hardware and these problems are more likely to lead to a child being trapped.

While this is definitely an issue that is being looked at by manufacturers there are also some words of wisdom to drop-side crib users. If you have a drop-side crib don’t take it apart to store. (Granted, I admit I don’t know how you would avoid this if you don’t have storage space).  But as you know when something goes into storage – parts go missing.  Many times the right hardware for these cribs goes missing and isn’t available for reassembly.  In addition, during reassembly screws and bolts can becomes loosened (or aren’t installed tight enough).  Many of these reassembly errors can cause the crib to be unsafe. For this reason it’s recommended that cribs – especially drop-side- aren’t purchased second-hand.

What are the options?

Right now the recommendation is to look for a crib with stationary sides.  These are becoming easier to find as manufacturers are facing stricter government standards. Large retailers, including Babies R Us, have stopped selling drop-side cribs all together.

And of course, regardless of what kind of crib you choose, following additional guidelines for purchase will keep your baby safe and you sleeping at night!


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