Baby deaths spark record cots recall in US

More than 2.1 million baby cots going back to 1993 are being recalled in the US, following reports of four baby deaths from suffocation.

More than 2.1 million baby cots going back to 1993 are being recalled in the US, following reports of four baby deaths from suffocation.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said today the recall, the biggest in US history, involved 1.2 million cots in the country and nearly a million in Canada, where by the manufacturer, Stork Craft Manufacturing, is based.

Nearly 150,000 of the cots carry the Fisher-Price logo.

The cots, manufactured and distributed between January 1993 and October 2009, were sold at major retailers including BJ’s Wholesale Club, Sears and Wal-Mart stores and online through Target and Costco.

They sold for between €66.50 and €266 and were made in Canada, China and Indonesia.

The CPSC said it was aware of four infants who suffocated in the drop-side cots, which have a side that moves up and down to allow parents to lift children from the cots more easily. The agency also said there had been 110 incidents of drop-sides detaching from the cots.

The Stork Craft cots have had problems with their hardware, which can break, deform or become missing after years. CPSC said there can also be problems with assembly mistakes by the cot owner. These problems can cause the drop-side to detach, creating a dangerous space between the drop-side and the cot mattress, where a child can become trapped.

The commission is urging parents to stop using the cots until receiving a free repair kit from Stork Craft. The kit will convert the drop-side into a fixed side.

This is the second big recall this year for the company. It recalled about 500,000 cots in January because of problems with the metal brackets that support the mattress. Some of the same models in the earlier recall were also part of the latest announcement, CPSC said.

Consumer advocates have complained for years about drop-side cots. More than five million have been recalled over the past two years alone – recalls that were associated with the deaths of a dozen young children.

ASTM International, an organisation that sets voluntary industry safety standards for everything from toys to the steel used in commercial buildings, approved a new standard last week that requires four immovable, or fixed, sides for full-size cots – essentially eliminating the manufacture of drop-side cots.

CPSC is also considering new rules for making cots safer and could adopt the ASTM voluntary standard as a mandatory one, outright banning the cots.

Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based Kids In Danger, said the agency must include more rigorous testing.

“Parents should be able to trust that their child is safe in their crib,” she said.

Toys R Us started phasing out drop-side cots earlier this year and will no longer sell them next month.

In the Stork Craft recall, the manufacture date, model number, crib name, country of origin, and the firm’s name, address and contact information are on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board. The firm’s insignia “storkcraft baby” or “storkling” is inscribed on the drop-side teething rail of some cots.

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