Infant Car Seats Should Be Banned, Not Drop-Side Cribs


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

baby gear, safety, nursery, car seat safety, in the news


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Rebec... Rebeccalynn_dj

I also hate to see people flip restaurant high chairs upside down and put the seat in it.  Those are not made to do so and babies get hurt all the time like that.  I have some really bad stories not just from moms things happened to but from friends that work in restaurants.

nonmember avatar Jen

You cannot be serious. Believe it or not, drop side cribs can be deadly. It has been proven. You can do exactly as directions tell you to when putting it together and they can still be dangerous. Hence a little thing called recalls which happens when something on the product fails. The saddest thing of all is lazy people who refuse to lean over the side of a crib to put their baby in. Isn't that the whole point of a drop side? Because no one should have to lean over the side? And being short doesn't wash. I'm just barely 5 feet and can manage fine.

miche... micheledo

I get sick of all the recalls and bans.  The medicine thing was CRAZY!  Moms weren't following the directions.  Why ban it??  Good grief - we could use ANYTHING in a way that it isn't supposed to be used and it would probably be dangerous. 

But then we are all a bunch of idiots and need to be told what to do all the time.  It's amazing my grandparents survived their generation with so little help from the government.  :D

Alisha Brignall

I completely agree with you on this one.

Jen Iwanchun

you have opened my eyes to what you are saying and when my daughter was little I did just that I put her car seat in the shopping cart but most of the time I took her out after a bit for a stretch and put her in a carrier or we went and nursed... for people that have newborns in the winter what is your opinion on getting them from the car seat into a carrier with out having to bundle them up my daughter was 4 months old when winter came around and she hated her snow suit so that's why I left her in the car seat to bring her into the store. Thanks for opening my eyes and seeing the danger of infant car seats

Joy Higginbotham

I carried my first two around in their car seats all the time, and thought nothing of it. But then, my first got HUGE and outgrew his seat really early.  . . lol I used the carseat/stroller combo for my 3rd, too, and he loved it. And, it was pretty safe. But when I had my 4th, I never took the carseat out of the car, unless I had no choice for whatever reason. And when she was almost 1, I insisted on buying a convertable carseat that rear-faces to 40 lbs (Graco MyRide 65), so it never gets taken out.  And she is still rear-facing at 27months. I agree, they're not safe. . .and I hate seeing big, 18+ lb babies carried around in carseats!

RanaA... RanaAurora

Jen, I'd pull my daughter out of her car seat while we were still in the car, and put her into my Moby wrap. If it was cold, I'd zip up an oversized coat around us, or there's all those nifty "carrier coats" designed for moms to wear while baby-wearing.

Also, please read my post about winter coats and car seats as snowsuits are incredibly dangerous as well. :)

Thanks for commenting!

knfisch knfisch

I would cry if theninfqnt carseat was banned. I don't put Kohl in a coat in his carseat so banning the carseat would mean I would have to wrestle him into a coat every time We leave the car and back out, all while I stand out in the cold and wind wnd snow. Right now we wrap him up in the carseat and I out the carseat in the big part of the cart (and not like how th picture shows) and DD in the seat part. About 5 mounts into the trip Kohl will get mad and i'll dig the sling or wrap out of the diaper bag and wear him until it's time to check out then I out him back in his seat and tuck him back in. If they were banned because some parents are idiots and can't safely use the convience factor of these seats I would be pissed. The government seriously needs to but the hell out of my life and stop trying to protect me. I have a brain, let me use my own judgement.

nonmember avatar Anon

I don't agree with a ban on either. Either can be used properly if adults would take responsibility. As for the drop-side cribs, the dangers have been in the news for a long time and the instructions are very clear about them. I assembled my 2 $100 drop-side cribs in 2007 and the instructions were not only very clear, but also full of warnings of what could happen if the instructions were not followed. The cribs (now converted to toddler beds) held up very well, thank you. *** At some point, we have to acknowledge that the true danger to children that manufacturers can't control is having stupid or irresponsible parents. Why make life harder for the majority of people who do pay heed to warnings? I mean, if we ban everything that is associated with a few kids' deaths every year, say goodbye to bathtubs, stairs, stoves, windows, etc.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

i don't necessarily think they should be banned, but i hate seeing babies stuck in their carseats,especially in an unsafe situation. My daughter was born at the end of last November, so it was chilly. I always put her in the Moby in the car..i never took her infant seat out of the car..

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