WASHINGTON - About 400,000 Simplicity drop side cribs were recalled Thursday for posing a suffocation hazard.
The Chinese-made crib's hardware can break or deform, allowing the drop side to detach. This creates a gap between the mattress and the side of the crib, where a small child could be trapped and suffocate, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The agency previously reported the death of an 8-month-old child from Houston, who suffocated when some of the plastic hardware on his crib broke and created a gap.
Last September, Simplicity recalled about 600,000 drop side cribs with similar defects. In 2007, the company recalled 1 million older model drop side cribs after two children became trapped and suffocated. The death of the 8-month-old from Houston was reported then, but the exact defect in his newer model crib was unknown at the time.
"If you have a Simplicity drop side crib, it has been recalled," said agency spokeswoman Patty Davis. She urged crib owners to go to the commission's Web site to see what actions to take next. But she cautioned parents not to put their children in any Simplicity drop side cribs at this point.
"We're glad that they finally finished the recalls of the drop sides," said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based Kids In Danger. But she expressed concern that the cribs recalled Thursday were sold through last month even though there had been repeated recalls of Simplicity cribs.
"Everyone kind of knew that they were seeing the same problems with these products," she said.
Cribs that were fixed after the 2007 recall to hold the drop side in place are safe, according to the CPSC. But cribs recalled Thursday or last September do not have a fix and can be returned to the place of purchase for a refund, replacement or store credit.
For details, call the CPSC at 800-638-2772.