Your health
By Sally Robinson and Keith Bly 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued numerous recalls on cribs since 2007. 

The most common problems are broken, missing or improperly functioning hardware. The cribs with sides that drop are the most risky. The moving side can be jolted from the tracks permitting the drop-side to detach from the crib. 

Defects in the moving parts have caused injuries and death to children who have become trapped or strangled. Therefore, the commission recommends the following precautions: 

• Do not use any crib with missing, broken or loose parts. 

• Hardware should be inspected and tightened periodically. 

• Check to make sure the drop-side or any other moving part operates smoothly on track. 

• Check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement, which can create a gap and trap a child. 

• Do not try to repair a crib with tape, wire or rope. Use only manufacturer-approved hardware. Putting the broken side against the wall does not help and may make the crib more dangerous. 

To see if a crib has been recalled check 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the crib not have spaces between the slats wider than 2 3/8 inches, no cutouts in the headboard or footboard and no corner posts.

 Lowering the crib mattress can prevent falls and making sure that the mattress fits snugly. 

Finally, keep the crib away from windows, as cords from blinds or other window covering can be a strangulation hazard. 

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Children’s Hospital and Keith Bly is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the UTMB Children’s Emergency Room. This column is not intended to replace the advice of a physician.