Short Mom Nation bemoans ban on drop-side cribs

Feb. 15, 2011 at 3:04 PM ET

The end of the drop-side-crib era is imminent. Starting in June, it will be illegal to sell a crib with a side that moves up and down. Many large retailers saw this coming and stopped selling the cribs more than a year ago.  And for families with hand-me-down drop-sides, there’s a need to be extra vigilant, as reported in this Associated Press story.  

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s  ban had to happen, considering that 32 strangulation and suffocation deaths were linked to the recalls. The CPSC says the incidents happened either because the drop sides became detached or because they were installed incorrectly.

Necessary, for sure. But there’s a population out there that can’t help but be perturbed by the action.

It’s the Short Mom Nation: Those of us under 5'3" who know from experience that when you are height-challenged, it’s near IMPOSSIBLE to put a sleeping baby in a fixed-side crib without waking them on the dismount.  

Dina Niblock of Durham, N.C., has used the same drop-side crib for kids Layla, 5, and Ozzie, 2. At 5’2", she says, "Without the drop-side, I would be SCREWED. In fact, I have put Layla’s little stool next to it at times when I wasn't as adept at lowering the side rail WITH a sleeping baby/toddler in my arms (I am now an expert!)."

Niblock says the new ban has prompted her to make sure her crib is still safe. And since her son is almost 3, he’ll be transitioning out of a crib in the next year.

Rebecca Lindwall, a 5’2" mom of four from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says that while she depended on her drop-side crib, the panel never consistently released properly. "I got used to standing on my tiptoes when putting young children to bed in it."

At 5’2, I also had to become a pro at maneuvering my drop-side (sometimes using my hip!) when putting my unusually chubby 20-pound 4-month-old to bed.  If there was any space between baby and mattress, you could guarantee he’d wake up, and that was always a joy.

So, the petite mom population has this to ask of crib manufacturers: Can’t you design a better drop-side crib product – one that’s easier to assemble correctly and one with sturdy, indestructible hardware? 

How do you feel about the ban of drop-side cribs?