Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Regulation:  After Long Battle, Safer Cribs

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued new regulations for cribs that the authorities say are the toughest in the world. The most pronounced change is that drop-side cribs, long a nursery staple, are prohibited from being sold. But manufacturers must also strengthen the crib slats and mattress supports, make crib hardware more durable and subject their products to tougher testing.
But even as the new standards took effect on June 28, some manufacturers had not had all of their cribs certified by testing laboratories, frustrating some retailers who have been stuck with cribs that they are not permitted to sell.
The whole crib standard saga is a good illustration of how not to regulate, said Commissioner Nancy A. Nord, a Republican. We rushed the standard out without doing the hard work upfront to understand the impact of the regulation. But the commission's Democratic chairwoman, Inez M. Tenenbaum, dismissed her Republican colleagues' complaints.

After dozens of babies had tragically been entrapped and died, and millions of defective cribs had been recalled, the actions of this commission to ensure the swift movement to market of only safer cribs undoubtedly was justified, she said in a statement.

Mr. Vieira, the Massachusetts retailer, said his complaint was not with the regulation.

It's certainly a good thing we are making cribs better, he said. We didn't have a problem with the regulation. We have a problem with how it was implemented.

For more, see After Long Battle, Safer Cribs by Andrew Martin, July 15, 2011 at NYTimes.com.

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