Local Group Continues to Keep Babies Safe in Cribs

Dec. 4, 2009
Annual Distribution of Cribs Set for December 4

The largest crib recall in history took place several weeks ago, as Stork Crafts cribs recalled more than 2.1 million cribs. The drop-side cribs were recalled after reports that four infants had suffocated. Cribs are a necessity for infants and toddlers, and yet good, safe, affordable cribs can be very hard to come by for needy families.

The Safe Crib and Car Seat Project (SCCSP) is one of only two groups in the country dedicated to giving safe cribs and car seats to needy families. Since its founding, SCCSP has distributed 1,884 cribs. In 1998, the group expanded its efforts to include car and booster seats, and has given away more than 460 of these.

Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, SCCSP expects to give away 150 cribs, mattresses and crib sheets to pre-screened families through participating prenatal and parenting outreach programs. The annual distribution will take place at Westmar Shopping Plaza, located near Mark’s Pizzeria at 2019C Buffalo Rd.

The project purchases the cribs and car seats with money raised from local and national businesses and foundations. This year, about $13,000 was raised, bringing the grand total of funds raised since its inception to close to $260,300. Through select outreach programs, the group has strict screening criteria to ensure the cribs and car seats are donated to families that meet income and safe housing requirements along with other eligibility guidelines. Unfortunately, each year the group cannot meet the needs of close to 100 eligible families due to budget constraints.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), between 2002 and 2005, on average 21 reported crib-related deaths occurred annually. In 1999, the CPSC revised its bedding recommendations, advocating that infants under 12 months be put to sleep in a crib with no soft bedding of any kind under or on top of the baby.

According to local consumer advocate Judy Braiman, who was instrumental in starting Safe Crib/Car Seat Project, it is imperative that families purchase new cribs and car seats for their babies to ensure they are using the safest equipment available. “Tremendous strides have been made over the years in making cribs and car seats safer for infants,” Braiman said. “Buying a used car seat, or picking a crib up at the curb is asking for a disaster to happen,” continued Braiman.

SCCSP is diligent about selecting the safest new cribs available to distribute to parents, examining safety concerns and materials used. Members of SCCSP go yet one step further to educate selected recipients about safe crib use. “I tell parents how to create a safe environment for their baby, which includes not putting anything in the crib with the baby,” said Braiman. “We also recommend having the baby in sleepers with no blankets, pillows, toys, or anything attached to the crib to prevent suffocation. We have done a great deal of testing on children's products and found heavy metals in them. I talk about safe toys and other baby items.” Braiman always brings props along to help teach parents and also hands out booklets on how to set up a safe nursery.” At the distribution event, other safety experts are present to talk about other potential safety hazards like lead paint and not having working smoke alarms.

CSPC Safe Crib Recommendations

The CPSC recommends that you use a crib that meets federal safety regulations and industry voluntary standards, and make sure it has a tight-fitting mattress, also avoid used cribs that may have missing parts, entrapment hazards in the headboard or footboard, or cornerposts that that could catch a child’s clothing.

Other safety tips from the CPSC ( are listed below.

Make sure the crib does NOT have:

·        Slats more than 2 3/8 inches apart

·        Slats that are loose, missing or cracked

·        A loose mattress—more than two finger-widths between the edge of the mattress and the crib side is unsafe

·        Corner posts higher than 1/16th inch

·        Cutouts in the headboard or footboard

·        Drop-side latches that could be easily released by baby

·        Loose screws or bolts that secure crib components

·        Mattress support not securely attached to head/foot board

·        A normal sheet instead of a crib sheet, or a pillow, comforter or soft bedding

This year, area donors include the Wegmans, Rochester Female Charitable Society, Flaum Management Co., Ronald McDonald House Charities, Judy Braiman, Spiritus Christi Church, Landsman Development/Mayzon Corp., Paychex, Preferred Care, Monroe Plan and private donations

The Safe Crib and Car Seat Project is a coalition of Rochester-based human service organizations including Strong Memorial Hospital - Baby Love and Building Health Children programs, Crestwood Children’s Center, Empire State Consumer Association, the Monroe County Department of Health’s Perinatal Home Visiting Program and Nurse Family Partnership Program, Anthony Jordan Health Center, Healthy Start Center and Children’s Institute. It seeks to provide safe cribs and car seats to needy families, and to educate the public on crib safety.