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How Safe Is Your Baby Crib?


Nearly three months after the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new guidelines for baby cribs went into effect, many mothers and moms-to-be may still be finding themselves with pre-standardized cribs.  As stores were preparing to offload cribs that did not comply with that government deadline, many put them on sale with attractive discounts. What’s more, cribs that don’t meet these new standards are still popping up for sale on online auction sites.

“There were many fire sales before the deadline hit,” says Nancy Cowles, executive director of the non-profit organization Kids in Danger, “and they often times stay in use for the next 10 or 15 years.” She says it will take a long time for them to be phased out of circulation, as most cribs are passed to friends and family – or sold online, usually by mothers who are unaware that the crib does not meet safety standards.

The new rules prohibit the manufacture or sale of the once-traditional drop-side-rail cribs. All cribs sold after June 28 must have stronger crib slats and mattress supports, better hardware and accessories and require more rigorous testing. If you a bought early in the summer, Rachel Weintraub, director of product safety and senior counsel for the Consumer Federation of America, recommends calling the store to ask for a certificate of compliance (pdf).

The good news: most big stores were well prepared and are now compliant, but Weintraub says discounted cribs sold before June 28 proved a “tricky” choice for customers. Stacia Smith, a spokeswoman for Target, says it’s compliant with all new safety requirements. “We naturally sold out of the non-compliant cribs before June,” she says. “We did have cribs that were compliant and non-compliant, which were on-sale prior to this regulation.”

Craigslist and eBay both list prohibited items that may not be sold on their websites.  A spokesman for eBay says it has has taken “proactive steps” to alert all users of their ban on listings of drop-side cribs and all other crib listings that violate the new safety rules, and displays an alert message to users attempting to list a crib on eBay. A spokesperson for Craigslist was not immediately available for comment. Pay Dirt readers, do you know what you bought last summer?


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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.