State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today was joined by Long Island parents who lost children to drop-side cribs, a pediatrician, child safety experts and a representative of the child product industry at a public hearing that examined the need for a statewide ban on drop-side cribs.
Malfunctioning drop-side cribs have been blamed for multiple deaths and injuries of children, including on Long Island. Nearly seven million cribs have been recalled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) since 2007 due to the dangers they pose to infants and toddlers.
Senator Fuschillo, said “This is straightforward, commonsense legislation to keep babies safe. Children’s products that can kill or injure a child do not belong on store shelves. Removing them from the marketplace will help protect children from harm.”
The legislation (S. 6356), sponsored by Senator Fuschillo, Senator Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), and Senator Stephen Saland (R-Poughkeepsie), would ban the sale, import, manufacture, and distribution of drop-side cribs throughout New York State. Assemblywoman Ginny Fields (D-Oakdale) is the sponsor of the measure in the Assembly.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the hardware on a drop-side crib can often break or malfunction, causing the drop-side to detach and create a space between the drop-side and crib mattress. Infants and toddlers can roll into this space and become entrapped and suffocate, or sustain serious injury if the drop-side detaches completely.
The sale of drop-side cribs is already prohibited in at least eight states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The New York State counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Rockland have already separately approved county-wide bans on the sale of drop-side cribs.
The CPSC recently recalled 635,000 cribs following the tragic death of a six-month old child in Iowa, who was strangled after the drop-side hardware broke. Similar recalls have resulted in millions of cribs being taken out of circulation because of safety concerns.
Michele Witte of Merrick, whose 10-month old son was killed by a drop-side crib, said, “This proposed ban on the sale of drop-side cribs in the State of New York is the most progress I have seen since 1997 when I lost my son, Tyler Jonathan. I woke up to find “my Valentine” with his neck trapped between the side-rail and headboard of his drop-side crib. Dozens of babies have died after becoming entrapped when drop-side hardware caused the side-rail of their cribs to loosen or detach. Over five million cribs have been recalled due to the strangulation hazard. Crib manufacturers know about the hazard but put profits over safety. I am thrilled that Senator Fuschillo proposed legislation that will ban the sale of these cribs and send a strong message that the New York State Legislature will not risk the lives of our most precious constituents: our children.”
Susan and Robert Cirigliano of North Bellmore, who lost their 6-month old son to a drop-side crib, said, “Since we lost our son Bobby in 2004, we have worked tirelessly to make parents aware of the deadly dangers posed by the drop-side crib. Our crusade includes a ban in Suffolk, Nassau and Rockland Counties, as well as testifying for the Crib Safety Hearing in Washington DC with Congress. We want to thank Senator Fuschillo for taking the reins in New York State and protecting our babies. We appreciate Senator Fuschillo’s passion and determination to ban the sale of drop-side cribs on a statewide basis.”
Richard Ancona, MD, Vice President, NY Chapter 2, American Academy of Pediatrics, who practices in Smithtown, said, “Our national organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a member of the ASTM International (American Society of Testing Materials) Sub-Committee F-15 which is responsible for testing consumer products. The most recent report from Sub-Committee F-15 shows that drop side cribs do not meet voluntary standards developed by ASTM International for child safety. Therefore we, the pediatricians in New York State, strongly support Senator Fuschillo’s effort to protect the youngest and most vulnerable children across New York.”
“We applaud New York Senators Fuschillo, Skelos and Saland for introducing the legislation to protect its youngest and most vulnerable residents. Drop side cribs create a hazard which is not easily detectable by parents and therefore unknowingly creates a dangerous sleeping environment,” says Joyce Davis, President of Keeping Babies Safe. “We hope that the announcement of this courageous legislation will alert parents who already own drop-side cribs to be aware of the danger. We encourage parents to learn more about dangerous sleeping environments by viewing our website at www.keepingbabiessafe.org.”
Rosemarie Ennis, Director of Safe Kids New York State, said, “Unintentional injuries STILL remain the number one killer of children ages 0 to 14. The massive recalls of cribs and the deaths and injuries occurring in drop-side cribs require swift action. Senator Fuschillo’s bill to ban the sale of drop-side cribs in New York State will send a strong message that these cribs are not a safe sleeping environment for our children.”
Rick Locker, General Counsel & Independent Produce Safety Specialist for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association said, “The safety of our nation’s children is always a concern to us and we are very appreciative for the opportunity to participate in this hearing on S. 6356. The juvenile products industry has a long history of ensuring that juvenile products are built with safety in mind. Our mission is safety, and the recent recalls of drop-sided cribs concern us greatly. We are pleased to report that our members’ efforts resulted in a modified voluntary ASTM standard which incorporates a new crib slat integrity test and the elimination of traditional drop side mechanisms.”
Photo: Senator Fuschillo speaks with North Bellmore residents Robert & Susan Cirigliano (seated at left table), who lost their son because of a drop-side crib, about the need for a ban on drop-side cribs in New York State. They are joined by (l-r at right table) Assemblymen Tom McKevitt, Dave McDonough, and Joe Saladino.