Amazing how complicated it can be to identify an unsafe bassinet and get kids out of them. It was late August when the Consumer Products Safety Commission first issued a safety alert warning caregivers not to use Simplicity 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 “close sleeper” bassinets, because when the fabric is detached to place it in “cosleeper” mode and not reattached properly, there is a gap under a metal bar that babies can slip under and strangle.
This was a clear danger, directly responsible for two infant deaths (one of which ocurred nearly a year before the safety alert, which has also raised some eyebrows). So you get them off the market pronto, right?
Enter the complications: First, Simplicity went out of business, and SFCA, the company that bought it, get this, bought only its assets, but not its liabilities. Sweet deal, huh? Sound like a certain Wall Street bailout to you? Anyhow, SFCA assumes no responsibility, and won’t issue a recall, so the CPSC has been having to do it piecemeal with retailers.
Meanwhile, it took until late September for someone to figure out that the exact same products were being sold under the Graco and Disney brands as well, and those ought to be included in the recalls.
And then they realized that it was only older models that had the problem, and newer ones have the fabric permanently attached and are fine. Oy vey. Consumer Reports has a video that shows the difference if you’re not sure. And the news is still spreading, with one news report just yesterday.
In amongst all this, the ongoing bias against cosleeping (I’ll have more on that in detail in a few days) rears its head again: This dangerous product got to market because no one has bothered to set specific safety standards for cosleeping products. And even Consumer Reports disappointingly turns around and in its video uses that as an excuse to recommend the use of regular cribs over cosleepers at all times, even though other cosleepers, and even the later models of this one, don’t have this dangerous flaw. The problem here was, in the CPSC’s words “metal bars spaced farther apart than 2 3/8 inches, which is the maximum
distance allowed under the federal crib safety standard,” not being a cosleeper.
Two lessons for safe sleeping: Follow instructions carefully, and if something looks dangerous, don’t wait for a manufacturer or the CPSC to tell you it really is.
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