Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dangerous crib from Baby Cache and Munire

We discovered yesterday that there’s a dangerous aspect of the crib design in the Baby Cache Uptown crib. This defective crib is made by Munire and sold by Babies R Us. I don’t expect them to be selling unsafe cribs.

The front and back corner posts of the crib flare outwards toward the top. The slats are mostly straight, which means most of the openings are consistent. On the sides of the crib, the front slat is contoured to match the outward flare of the corner post. This is the slat with the green arrow pointing at it below.

The hazard is in the back slat on the sides. That back slat is perfectly straight, but the back corner post flares outwards. This creates a wedge-shaped opening instead of a consistent opening. This dangerous opening is highlighted by a red arrow in the photo below.

Yesterday afternoon, David was lying on his back in the crib, put his foot through the wedge-shaped opening near the top where the opening is wider, kicked his leg downwards, and got caught by the narrowing opening. He couldn't push or pull his leg free, he was hurt by having his leg jammed between these two pieces of wood, blood flow was being cut off, and fortunately he started screaming. I came and lifted his leg free, and made sure his leg just looked badly bruised and not broken.

David spent the next hour in complete terror of his crib. We worked so hard to pick out this crib. We read a ton of reviews, checked out the manufacturer’s reputation, checked the certifications, and spent a lot of money on a crib that we thought would keep our son safe. And now we’ve discovered that Babies R Us sold us a crib with a serious design flaw.

A standard bumper won’t prevent this, even if we were willing to use a bumper against the recommendations of our pediatrician.

Babies risk getting their legs and arms caught in crib openings when they put their hands or feet through and twist at various angles, but the openings are not usually tapered in a way that will vastly increase the risk of serious injury. This particular design flaw looks like it makes an injury more likely and makes it much harder for the baby to get his arm or leg free on his own.

For the moment, we’ve tied on some fabric vertically to completely block the problematic openings. I’m considering blocking the opening with wood, if I can be certain that I won’t create any worse risks in attempting to solve this one.

I am angry at Babies R Us, angry at Munire who makes the Baby Cache line of furniture for Babies R Us, and angry at the CPSC and JPMA for not having design guidelines that prevent this obvious danger in crib design. It wasn’t obvious to me until I saw it happen, but I’m not a safety expert. I depend on experts to do their jobs right, and they failed here.

I’m trying to focus on reporting the problem and finding a solution we can implement. I don’t want to think of this as a Crib of Death or a Danger Crib.

Update 1: Our experience matches the report of this Baby Cache Uptown Lifetime Crib - Natural being unsafe at saferproducts.gov.

Update 2 after a number of phone calls

Munire’s first response was that the federal government requires them to have this tapered opening in their side panel, which is obvious nonsense. The other component of their first response was that they have no interest in making their cribs safer than the minimum required by federal standards. That’s a repulsive attitude for a crib manufacturer. Angela at Munire (Baby Cache) kept interrupting me and then hung up on me.

The CPSC took an incident report, but they don’t have a good system for cross-referencing reports in their database. That makes it hard for them to compile accurate numbers about how many problems are reported for a particular crib. I was able to find several other reports about this exact crib, two of which precisely describe this problem with tapered openings.

The JPMA was helpful and friendly, and someone there is looking into whether this crib meets the crib standards. They are an industry association, but the people I talked to there seem to care about safety and talked to me about my concerns. They’re talking to folks on the ASTM subcommittee that sets the crib standards, so they’re my best hope for having a positive impact beyond my immediate problem.

When the crib standards were last updated, limb entrapments were an all-too-common problem with cribs (12% of reported injuries from cribs), leading to bruises and fractures. And nobody could figure out what to change in the standards to reduce limb entrapments, so they made no changes. I have an idea: don’t allow tapered openings. That won’t solve many limb entrapments, but it should reduce the total number.

Munire’s second response (from someone higher up than Angela) was that this crib has been discontinued, all of their cribs are JPMA certified and therefore safe, and that there’s absolutely nothing they could possibly do to improve safety as long as they meet federal standards. That attitude makes my skin crawl. They also want to replace the crib with a different model (Kensington) which they say is much better made.

Munire’s advertising for the Uptown crib says that it’s made from solid maple. On the phone, they say that the Uptown crib uses veneers. Munire’s advertising for the Kensington crib says that it’s made from a mix of solid wood and veneers. On the phone, they say that the Kensington crib uses just solid wood. Munire appears to be working hard to make sure customers can’t trust them. If I can’t fix the crib we have, I’d rather buy a crib from a different manufacturer.

14 comments:

Jennifer said...

In my experience, many cribs sold at Babies R Us are eventually recalled. It happened to our crib for W. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how many reviews you read of various baby products. Over time, many are recalled. I personally loved the drop side cribs from Ethan Allen, but EA doesn't even make cribs anymore due to liability and the government has now banned drop side cribs entirely. So, you do the best you can and try to be a watchful parent.

Leonore said...

A crib tent would prevent this from occurring.
Good luck!

Michael said...

Do you mean the crib tents that were all recalled less than a year ago for being unsafe?

Anonymous said...

I bought a crib directly from Munire, and I found the design flawed because the front lip of the crib (the railing in the front) is very wide. It was a very pretty, expensive crib, but my daughter pulled herself out of it at 13 months, just using her forearm strength. My daughter fell on her head, and Munire was good to pay for our emergency bill. I don't think they changed the design, and most of the convertible cribs out there have this thicker railing that becomes the footboard of a full bed. After the incident, we bought an Ikea crib (Gulliver) for around $100, and it's the best crib ever because it's really low to the ground, and as a tall girl (95% for her age), she still couldn't pull herself out at 3 years old. My daughter is still using it as a toddler bed. Some things you have to discover by experience, and hopefully the kids don't get too hurt in the process.

Angelina Marasco said...

I'm just reading this post now. In May 2013, My 14 month old daughter got her leg stuck in the first opening that the green arrow pointed to on the picture above. She twisted and turned around and ended up getting stuck on her stomach screaming bloody murder. We took her to the ER and after xrays it was determined that she had broken her tibia bone in her left leg. This crib is extremely unsafe.

Anonymous said...

I used the uptown crib with my daughter and we had no problems at all. When she was 14 mth old she did try to pull herself up, but she did that at our friends crib too, so that just shoes that maybe they need to go into a toddler bed, so thats what we did - my daughter slept in her toddler bed from 14 mth - 2 years old. With 2 years old we put her into turned the crib into the double bed. There are a lot of cribs out there that don't work for everybody, that doesn't mean that they are not good. Any baby can get a foot or arm stuck between the spaces, it depends on how big/skinny your kids body part are. I have seen so many cribs (I work with kids/parents) and all the parents tell me something how their kid got stuck or pulled themselves out or got a finger stuck or whatever. Also Ikea cribs got re called too, and also cribs from other stores too.

Dina said...

I just wanted to say that my son also got his leg stuck in the side rails on this crib. Thankfully he wasn't injured but it has happened a few times. Once it was very difficult to get it out and I was getting nervous we were going to have to cut the crib or that he was hurt. This crib is designed in such a way that there are 4 spaces that are wide at the top, narrow towards the middle, and get wider toward the bottom. This allows your child to slide their leg in at the top and when they put their leg down to the part where it narrows, it gets wedged. Would NOT recommend this crib. We are converting it to a regular bed now so it doesn't happen again.

elaine richards said...

Hello Michael.Really sorry to hear that David got his leg trapped in the dangerous tapered slat gap on his crib. Our daughter has also experienced this problem, which she too found very traumatic. We haven't put her back into her crib since late last spring due to this. We now want to convert to a toddler bed but want to make sure those areas are safe.Did you come up with a solution to make it safe for David? Also, did Munire offer you any kind of compensation? We are not having much luck with them so far and feel that we should be refunded some of the money we spend on this crib. We also bought the toddler conversion kit and slats etc to extend to double bed when the time comes so have spent a huge chunk of money.

Michael said...

We blocked the tapered side openings until David had grown enough that those openings no longer appeared to be an entrapment hazard to him.

Munire was willing to swap it out for another of their cribs, but offered no other solution.

Anonymous said...

I just now read this article (March 2014)while searching for the full bed conversion kit for the Uptown. We had the same issue with our son. His arm got stuck in the red arrow twice. He was very fortunate that he did not get hurt, but was bruised pretty badly. It was an extremely frightening experience! He would always put his arms and legs through the crib but that is the only place he ever got stuck. It is clear after taking a closer look that the back rail on the side should be slightly tapered. We purchased the whole set and were very frustrated that the crib became a safety concern. Luckily he didn't have any issues being in the crib and if he was in it for anything other than sleeping we were always right there to keep an eye on him. Good for you for bringing it to the manufacturers attention even if the outcome was not ideal.

Anonymous said...

I'm just seeing this too. We didn't have any problems with the crib although I do see the potential problems. But when we converted it and bought a mattress and box springs it is ridiculously high off the ground!!! It looks idiotic. The bed skirt doesn't come close to be floor. There is a 8+ inch gap. VERY DISAPPOINTED

Anonymous said...

I am extremely upset with Munire! They won't answer their phones. In 2010 I purchased the Expresso Urban Collection crib, dresser and nightstand. In addition, I decided to go ahead and get the toddler rail and conversion kit. Well now its 2014 and its time to give my 4 yr old son his big boy bed. I had no problem using the crib, toddler or daybed. I purchased a new full size mattress and bunky board. Converted the daybed into a full size bed and 2 weeks later, I heard a horrifying scream from my son and then a CRASHING SOUND! I ran into his room horrified to see the headboard detached from the sidrails, which were completely split, and my son laying on the bed (collapsed onto the floor) struggling to get the headboard off of his head! Thats a very heavy headboard. My son could have been seriously injured or killed. He had a headache and a bruised forehead and a small lump. Munire is still selling this convertible crib after all the complaints! Does someones child have to die or lose a limb before something is done? The warranty is useless, a 1 year warranty for a life-time crib/bed???? I spent over 1K for this convertible crib collection and now I regret it and my son is only 4 years old!

Jamie said...

Please take the photo of my son off of your website.

Michael said...

I have cropped the photo further. I hope that resolves your concern.