FAIRBANKS — More than 400 safe baby cribs are on order with more to come via an Alaska Crib Swap effort to replace existing unsafe, drop-side baby cribs that do not meet federal safety standards at licensed child care homes and child care centers.
A nonprofit organization, called thread, an Alaska child care referral network, is partnered with Alaska Community Foundation in the Safe Sleep for Alaska’s Babies campaign to meet new U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards and Federal Child Care Regulation requirements in child care programs statewide.
The CPSC has recalled more than 11 million of the dangerous drop-side cribs since 2007.
Drop-side cribs have a side rail that can be lowered and raised to allow caregivers to more easily lift or place a baby, but they have been blamed in the deaths of several dozen children who become entangled in the mechanism and defective hardware.
According to Sarah Leonard, of thread, the agency is working with licensed child care providers throughout the greater Anchorage area and is in the process of contacting others in smaller towns and villages.
ACF is supporting the Alaska Crib Swap effort by helping to raise money to replace unsafe cribs in hundreds of child care programs by matching any donation dollar for dollar.
The federal rule, which bans the manufacture, sale and resale of drop-side cribs with detaching side rails, went into effect earlier this year, and child care facilities have until Dec. 28 to replace them.
Child care homes and centers participating in the Alaska Crib Swap sign an agreement to destroy old cribs and join in a four-hour training program on safe infant sleeping environments.
Leonard said it is important for parents to know that vendors and retailers had to meet crib safety standards last June.
“Parents should talk to their child care providers and ask if they know about new crib standards, and anyone who has a crib should call its manufacturer to see if their crib meets federal safety standards.”
In addition, Leonard said, the manufacturer should provide the owner of the crib with a certificate of safety compliance.
With an estimated 4,000 infants being cared for in licensed homes and centers in the state, Leonard, expects to order another 400 replacement cribs in the near future.
The federal regulation for safe infant sleeping environments also applies to hotels and motels, which are listed in as “places of public accommodation” in the regulations.
The child care resource agency as well as CSCP encourages everyone to destroy old, unsafe cribs. Do not pass them along to someone else or sell them on Craigslist.
“There are minimal parts of cribs that can be used,” Leonard said. “Overall, we encourage people to remove and destroy them.”
For more information:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Crib Information Center
3350 Commercial Dr., Suite 203
Anchorage, AK 99501
265-3100 / Toll free: 800-278-3723
Alaska Community Foundation
400 L Street, Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99501
Contact staff writer Mary Beth Smetzer at 459-7546.