Nearly 10,000 infants and toddlers are hurt in crib and playpen accidents each year, according to a recent study.
The release of the study coincides with a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on February 24 on consumer product safety issues during which the subject of cribs is expected to come up. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes loosening crib regulations and is concerned that the industry may seek to roll back parts of a 2008 law which called for mandatory crib standards, including more rigorous safety testing, noting that this peer-reviewed study indicates why such a rollback would be a step backward.
The study, which was released in the journal Pediatrics, examined 19 years of Emergency Department data and is the first nationwide analysis of ER treatment for crib and playpen injuries. Researchers found a gradual decrease in the injury rate between 1990 and 2008; they also found that recent safety measures including a ban on drop-side cribs appear to be having a positive impact.
Still, better prevention efforts are needed since, even in the most recent years examined, an “unacceptable” average of 26 infants daily were injured in crib-related accidents, says study lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Most injuries were from falls in toddlers between ages 1 and 2. According to the study, 181,654 infants were injured between 1990 and 2008, though most children were not hospitalized. The data also reveal 2,140 deaths, not including crib-related deaths in children who didn't receive treatment in the ER.
The 2008 law called for mandatory crib standards, including more rigorous safety testing. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission mandate, which takes effect in June 2011, bans the manufacture and sale of traditional drop-side cribs with side rails that move up and down to make it easier to place and remove infants. The movable rails can become partially detached, creating a gap between the mattress and rail where babies can get stuck. Dozens of injuries and deaths including suffocations have been linked with drop-side cribs, and millions of such cribs have already been recalled.
Source: Washington Post
You can view a copy of the study abstract here.