Tag Archives: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Crib standards improved – drop side cribs removed from the market

Infant safety is taking a big step forward today as new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) rules take effect banning drop side cribs.  Manufacturers and stores that sell cribs can no longer make or sell drop-side cribs. That’s the biggest change with these new standards after infants died.

From 2005-2010, the CPSC recalled more than 9 million drop-side cribs. Click here to see if your crib was recalled.

The manufacturers must also make the mattress supports stronger, improve slat strength, make crib hardware more durable, and make safety testing more rigorous.

It’s the first change in 30 years to crib standards, and comes after dozens of infants died. Between January 2000 and 2010, the CPSC says 32 infants and toddlers lost their life due to drop side cribs. They either suffocated or strangled when the drop side crib detached.  In some deaths the crib detached without an adult noticing, and in other cases the consumer  tried to repair the drop side but ultimately failed.

Another 14 kids died from entrapment in a crib that could be related to a drop side. The CPSC could not tell by the provided information if the drop side was involved in the death.

Courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

The CPSC says drop-side cribs are not as structurally sound as a crib with four fixed side. Also, the hardware is prone to break or cause other problems. The older the crib, the more problems consumers had.

While drop side cribs will no longer be on the market, the second component of the law will not apply to December 28, 2012. This impacts child care facilities in the home or at a center, hotels, motels, and rental companies. The extension was made because the CPSC says an additional 935,000 cribs will be needed for all these facilities, and there was concern that would put a demand on the system that couldn’t be filled in time. The cost to replace all the cribs is expected to be around $467 million.

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Consumer protection week – protection for high gas prices, products, and complaints

It’s Consumer Protection Week. While you may not think this means much to you, there are some changes expected this week.

First, will the government do something to protect the price of gas and will it work? There is talk they’ll tap into oil reserves as gas prices continue to climb.  GasBuddy.com shows gas prices are up 11-cents from last week.

With gas prices continuing to rise, consumers almost have no choice but to pay the higher choices. So, why not save a few bucks in the process? Try discount  warehouse stores.  They typically sell gas a few cents cheaper, or buy gas at a business like GetGo that offers you a discount on your groceries when you purchase a certain amount of gas. The savings are not that great, but you’ll at least get something for spending a ton of money to fill up your tank.

The tips about checking your car usually fall on deaf ears, but I’ll remind you anyway about checking your tire pressure. It’s an important tip that can save you money and the investment is just a few minutes of your time. This is a good idea not just because gas is so costly right now, but because we’re starting to experience temperature swings as we head into spring. Temperature changes impact your tire pressure.   So, if you’re pumping on a warmer day don’t focus on the pump. Stop staring at the fact that the total sale price is increasing much faster than the gas going into your car. Instead, walk around your car and check your tire pressure.

Since it’s so tough to protect us from rising gas prices, take some steps to protect yourself.

Seal of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Image via Wikipedia

Also, this week the Consumer Product Safety Commission will launch its website, Saferproducts.gov, that will publicly make available complaints about products. It will be a good step to protect you from unsafe products. However, it’s not without criticism. There is concern the site will allow unverified comments to become public and in essence give anyone a forum to say what they want about a product. The CPSC has a disclaimer on its site about the comments.

The site is already taking complaints from parents or caregivers, but it should be noted those will not be used in the official CPSC database when it launches March 11th.   Right now, the CPSC is testing its internal procedures with the complaints it’s getting.  The CPSC says that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t complain, because it reviews every complaint and uses them as part of the investigation process. However, why not just wait a few more days at this point.

Finally, Consumer Protection week is about protecting your right to solve a complaint. There are agencies that can help you with your problem, or you can help yourself.  The Consumer Action Handbook is released every year with up to date contact information for different organization. It also includes sample letters so you know how to complain. There really is an art to complaining. You need to argue your point in a short and friendly manner, and the other key is targeting your complaint to the person who is in power to make a decision.  The handbook is a good guide to help you get action on your problem. The book is free. You can order one online, or download the newly released 2011 book.