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New federal crib safety standards promised this year

WASHINGTON - The chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned crib makers yesterday of a crackdown on defective products, promising new federal safety standards this year.

"Now is the time to create a state-of-the-art crib standard and not let special interests hijack the process," said Inez Tenenbaum at the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization in Washington.

"I say no more to the tired tactic of blaming parents in the press when CPSC announces a recall that involves a death," she said.

Tenenbaum appeared to be responding to criticism that current safety regulations do not adequately address the problems posed by drop-side cribs.

According to the CPSC Web site, the commission has recalled almost 7 million cribs since 2007. Six million of those are cribs with drop sides, a movable side of the crib that slides down to a lower position, giving caregivers easier access to the inside of the crib.

Generally, cribs with drop sides tend to be structurally less sound than those with fixed sides.

While statistics detailing the total number of deaths from crib defects were not immediately available, the CPSC said in December it was aware of at least 11 deaths and 25 other incidents related to defects in Simplicity cribs sold in U.S. stores between June 2005 and January 2009. The CPSC has since issued six recalls; 2 million Simplicity cribs have been recalled since December 2005. In November 2009, Suffolk County became the first municipality in the nation to ban drop-side cribs.

The agency also said its new public database, which was required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and will make consumer complaints available to the public for the first time, will be fully operational by March 2011. In its final form, the Web site, SaferProducts.gov, will allow the public to report product incidents and to access safety-related incident reports on their own. With AP

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