Suffocation Deaths of New York State Infants Prompts Call for Proposed Law
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) and Senator Stephen M. Saland (R-I-C Poughkeepsie), Ranking Member of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, have introduced legislation to ban the sale of drop-side cribs in New York State, which have caused the suffocation deaths of at least two New York infants, and 11 infant fatalities nationwide.
Senator Fuschillo said, “Children’s products that can kill or injure a child do not belong on store shelves. Drop-side cribs have already caused several tragedies and numerous injuries to young children. Removing them from the marketplace will help protect children from harm, and I enthusiastically support this legislation.”
Senator Saland said, “The tragic death of these infants in New York State and the recall of millions of drop-side cribs clearly signal the potential dangers of these cribs. The State needs to take these defective cribs out of the marketplace now before another child is harmed.”
Drop-side cribs allow parents to raise and lower one side for easy access. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a drop-side crib’s hardware, often made of plastic, can break or malfunction, causing the drop-side to detach. When this occurs, a space is created between the drop-side and the crib mattress. Infants and toddlers can roll into this space and become entrapped, which can lead to suffocation. Other injuries associated with drop-side cribs include bumps, bruises and concussions, which occur when the side of the crib completely detaches.
This proposed law would prohibit the import, manufacture, sale and distribution of drop-side cribs in New York State.
The CPSC reported that in May, 2007, seven-month-old Courtney Sue Barr got trapped between the mattress and the gate of her defective drop-side crib and suffocated in her Gouverneur (St. Lawrence County) home. A nine-month-old child in the Bronx also suffocated after being entrapped by a drop-side crib, according to the CPSC.
In addition, parents on Long Island who attribute their infant sons’ deaths to a defective drop-side crib have worked with the county legislatures to ban the sale of drop-side cribs in Suffolk and Nassau counties.
The CPSC has recalled millions of drop-side cribs in the United States due to infant deaths and injuries.