Effective June 28, 2011, crib manufacturers and retailers must comply with new federal safety laws to protect babies while they sleep. The new safety standards—the first update to crib laws in 30 years—aim to prevent injury or death resulting from cribs with dangerous drop-sides or defective hardware.

The new crib regulations include:

  • Stopping the manufacture and sale of drop-side cribs
  • Making mattress supports stronger
  • Improving slat strength
  • Making crib hardware more durable
  • Making safety testing more rigorous

What parents can do:

While the new law will protect kids by insuring that future cribs are manufactured with higher standards, here's what parents can do to insure their child's safety with cribs they use now, as outlined by the organization Keeping Babies Safe:

  • If you have a drop side crib you should get rid of it and dispose of it properly so no one can use it. To disassemble a drop side crib correctly, throw out all the loose parts and screws in a bag along with one slat. Wait a week before you discard the rest of the crib so the crib cannot be reassembled.
  • If you're traveling with a baby, call the hotel/motel ahead of time to find out the crib make and model they provide. Do they have crib sheets? Many hotels, for example, don't have crib bed sheets. Many use twin bed sheets in a crib and this is not safe.
  • Inspect the crib to make sure it's durable and there are no missing or loose parts.
  • For a portable play yard, parents should not use any supplemental mattress.
  • For a crib, the mattress should fit properly in the crib.

Parents cannot assume the hotel, day care facility, or rental company will have the safest cribs, or non-recalled cribs. These facilities have another 18 months (until Dec. 28, 2012) to comply with the new legislation. For product recall information and crib safety tips, visit Keeping Babies Safe.