A new study, covering 19 years of emergency room data, shows that almost 10,000 infants and toddlers are hurt in crib and playpen accidents each year. Most injuries were from falls in toddlers between ages 1 and 2 – generally old enough to attempt climbing out of a crib or playpen.
The study authors analyzed national 1990-2008 data on ER-treated injuries from the product safety commission. They focused on nonfatal injuries related to cribs, playpens and bassinets; information on injuries linked with specific models was not provided.
Overall, 181,654 infants were injured. Most children were not hospitalized. The data also show there were 2,140 deaths, but that doesn’t include crib-related deaths in children who didn’t receive ER treatment.
Researchers studied national data, finding that recent safety measures including a ban on drop-side cribs likely will reduce those numbers. The study found a gradual decrease in the injury rate between 1990 and 2008. But overall, even in the most recent years examined, an average of 26 infants daily were injured in crib-related accidents.
The study was released early Thursday by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ medical journal Pediatrics. Reportedly, the release was timed for a U.S. House subcommittee hearing Thursday on consumer product safety issues where cribs are expected to be a topic of discussion. The doctors’ group opposes loosening crib regulations and is concerned that the industry may seek to roll back parts of a 2008 law. The new study, “scientifically validated with peer review,” shows why a rollback would be unwise.
The 2008 law called for mandatory crib standards including more rigorous safety testing. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission adopted the mandate in December, to take effect this June. It 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 linked with drop-side cribs led to the ban; millions of such cribs have been recalled.