We just saw the ban of drop-side cribs after 32 infants were killed in a 10-year period -- so an average of around three deaths a year. However, something else was responsible for the death of 508 babies in a nine-year period, 43,562 injuries in a five-year period -- and is still totally legal.
Infant car seats.
Specifically, the kind that can be removed from the car. But who is at fault, and how is it any different than the ban of the cribs?
And where do you draw the line between personal and manufacturer responsibility?
Lenore Skenazy wrote a little bit on the crib recall and how there are just going to be inherit risks with some things like a ball rolling into the street, for example, and how at some point, parents just need to take responsibility ... and frankly, I agree.
She also says, though, that if a parent is going to assemble something, they should take care to do it correctly, and it's their responsibility to deal with assembly that isn't safe. That on the other hand, I disagree with. Unless a company has someone come out and build all cribs, or has you sign a waiver, it is their responsibility to provide either a fully-assembled product, or ensure the safety of their product as long as the directions were followed. The issue with the cribs was that even with proper construction, the design was just poor.
Cribs like this are still safe.The cribs with a secure side that fold down a portion of the top, outward, on a hinge, are still legal, by the way, for those who are worried about not being able to get a baby out without falling in yourself. Was there a warning in the manuals of the death-trap cribs that said that even with proper construction, your baby could still slide down and get trapped? Probably not, because it shouldn't happen.
But when it comes to infant car seats, it clearly says never to put the car seat on an elevated surface, and yet tens of thousands of infants end up hurt or killed each year because their parent did exactly that -- often on the top of a shopping cart, even though the cart AND car seat BOTH say it's dangerous. They are also placed on a bed or counter where the baby falls off and can suffocate on the soft surface or smack their head.
Not to mention the fact that it's pretty sad if an infant has an entire trip out of the house, into a store, then back home, never being unstrapped or held even once (and people blame flat heads on the Back to Sleep campaign?), but it's pretty dang obvious that trying to wedge your car seat on top of a cart, five feet off the ground, with your precious cargo in it, isn't too smart and it shouldn't be surprising that they fall off like both the cart AND the seat warn you they will, and get hurt.
Then you take into consideration that even if you set the car seat on the floor, with no risk of falling, that babies still can suffocate because most seats aren't designed to be at the right angle on the floor to still allow proper breathing like when it's installed in the car.
So, infant seats are dangerous for the baby to be in, whenever they're out of the car, and cause way, WAY more injuries every single year than cribs, yet these cribs are banned. I suppose, what we're to gather from this, is that as long as people kill their babies by breaking repeatedly printed rules and don't use common sense, we'll continue to sell an inherently more dangerous product? Didn't we ban children's cough syrup because parents refused to pay attention to the proper dosage? How is the car seat issue any different?
Personally, when I look at these statistics, I think drop-side cribs should merely be redesigned, but infant car seats should be banned and manufacturers should just make convertible seats with lower harnesses and weight limits for newborns. Keeping the car seats in the car would help keep kids safe.
Which would be more logical of a ban? Infant car seats or drop-side cribs?
Images via Christie Haskell; BabyAge