It was almost a year ago that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) unanimously voted to overhaul federal regulations for crib manufacturing and crib safety.

Those new laws, most apparent in its regulations on drop-side cribs, will take effect in less than two weeks, meaning that it will be unlawful to sell, distribute, offer or otherwise put into the “stream of commerce” a crib that does not meet the new standards. They will also require stronger hardware and rigorous testing to prove a crib’s durability.

By June 28, all cribs sold in the U.S. must meet the new standards, regardless of whether they were sold online, in stores or on auction.

Current crib laws are nearly 30 years old, but new mandatory standards will:

  1. Stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs.
  2. Make mattress supports stronger.
  3. Improve slat strength.
  4. Make crib hardware more durable.
  5. Make safety testing more rigorous.

The rules won’t outright ban drop-side cribs, but will make it nearly impossible for that style to comply with new regulations. The CPSC says that it will be difficult from looking at a crib to tell whether or not it meets new standards, but also that any crib manufactured before December 2010 is not likely to meet those standards.

To be sure, consumers can ask manufacturers if their crib complies with 16 CFR 1219 (the new standard for full-size cribs) or 16 CFR 1220 (the new standard for non-full-size cribs). You can ask the manufacturer or retailer for a copy of the certificate of compliance that should indicate that the crib is certified to meet 16 CFR 1219 or 16 CFR 1220.

The June 28 date applies mainly to retailers while child care facilities, head start centers and “public accommodations” like hotels and motels will have until Dec. 28, 2012 to comply. Short-term crib rental companies will also have until the later date.

The CPSC advises to NOT sell, give away or donate drop-side cribs or other cribs that do not meet standards. 
If you cannot afford to buy a new crib, the CPSC recommends that you:

  • Check CPSC’s crib recall list to make sure that your crib has not been recalled.
  • Check the crib frequently to make sure all of the hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing, or broken parts.
  • If your crib has a drop-side rail, stop using that drop-side function. If the crib has been recalled, request a free immobilizer from the manufacturer or retailer (particular immobilizer will vary depending on the crib).
  • Another option is to use a portable play yard, so long as it is not a model that has been recalled previously.

Dream On Me’s drop-side cribs were the most recent to be recalled. Dream On Me announced that voluntary recall in late May; you can see it in our Marketplace here.

Visit the CPSC site here to see a list of manufacturers that have recalled drop-side cribs. You should contact your manufacturer if your drop-side crib is not on this list. You can also read the full version of the CPSC’s new regulations here.