Chief of product safety agency targets dangerous products
Inez Tenenbaum, the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, promised swift action to get dangerous products off the market, after acknowledging Tuesday it didn't move quickly enough on a recall of cribs linked to four deaths.
"We were not advancing this case as quickly as possible," said chairman Inez Tenenbaum, who is the former state superintendent of education for South Carolina. "So, I put all of the resources for the agency on this project so that they could accomplish this goal of recalling the crib."
Citing cases of infants being trapped and suffocated, the agency Monday announced a voluntary recall of more than 2 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs. Consumer advocates have complained for years about drop-side cribs. More than 5 million of them have been recalled over the past two years alone - recalls associated with the deaths of a dozen young children.
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CPSC is considering mandatory standards for crib design. Tenenbaum said the agency will enforce a law passed by Congress last year that gives the agency greater authority to crack down on manufacturers.
"We're in the process of rule-making, and we will take a hard look at this, but I think in the future these drop-sides will be banned," Tenenbaum said on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday.
If she had a baby, Tenenbaum said, she would not put the infant in a drop-side crib.
She advised parents with drop-sides in their homes to check the hardware; make sure it's not cracked or missing. For people with Stork Craft drop-sides, they can request a free repair kit that converts the drop-side into a fixed or immovable side.
Calls to Stork Craft were not returned Tuesday.
ASTM International, an organization that sets voluntary industry safety standards for everything from toys to the steel used in commercial buildings, approved a new standard last week that requires four immovable, or fixed, sides for full-size cribs - a big step toward eliminating the manufacture of new drop-side cribs since the industry group won't certify them.
Toys "R" Us started phasing out drop-side cribs earlier this year and will no longer carry them next month.