US bans drop-side cots over safety concernsBaby deaths prompt US to ban drop-side cot design

22 December 2010

Drop-side cots

The sale or manufacture of drop-side cots and cribs will be banned in the US from June 2011, following the deaths of at least 32 babies since 2000.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to bring in the new rules, which will stop the selling of 'dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs' and make mattress supports stronger. 

More rigorous safety testing will also be introduced for cots in the US, making them, according to Consumer Reports - the US counterpart of Which? - among the most stringent in the world.

US drop-side cot ban

Drop-side cots have a mechanism at one or both sides of the cot that allow you to lower the rails, making it easier for you to lift your baby in and out. Drop-side cot models are widely available in the UK.

According to the CPSC, the ban has been prompted by reports of 'at least 32' baby deaths since 2000 from suffocation or strangulation, due to detaching drop-side rails on faulty cots, or in some cases, when a cot wasn't assembled properly. The space created between the side and cot mattress if it partially drops down can trap a baby's body.

The US has issued voluntary recall notices on around 11 million cots since 2007.

British cots come under European safety standards, which are different to those in the US. So far, there has been no indication that a similar ban on drop-side cots will be applied in Europe.

Drop-side cots in the UK

The UK government axed the collection of accident data in 2002, so it's not clear how many, if any, parents in the UK have experienced similar problems with this type of cot, but the Trading Standards Institute said it had not been alerted to any patterns of incidents involving defective drop-side cots emerging in the UK.

Which? hasn't lab tested cots, but we do have more advice on what to look for when you're choosing a cot for your baby, including cot mattresses and baby bedding

We will be taking a closer look at this issue in the coming months - if you've encountered a problem while using a drop-side cot, then do let us know. Please email homeeditor@which.co.uk with your experience.

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