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Parents testify on statewide ban of drop-side cribs

Several Long Island families who lost a child in accidents involving drop-side cribs testified Thursday at a hearing by lawmakers seeking a statewide ban on the cribs.

"We refuse to allow any other family to suffer the pain we have," said Susan Cirigliano of North Bellmore, who lost her 6-month-old son, Bobby, when he suffocated in 2004 after the crib detached and his head got stuck between the rail and mattress. "The one place where you would leave your child alone has become a threat."

"I fear that we have a chance of losing more infants," said Cirigliano, who attended the hearing with husband Robert.

New York state Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick), who organized the public forum at Farmingdale State College, said: "It's a crib that kills; it's a crib that injures."

Officials say the federal government recalled more than 4.2 million faulty cribs from 2005 to 2008 and said the cribs caused 90 deaths from 2003 to 2005.

Both Nassau and Suffolk banned the cribs last year.

Thursday, witnesses presented research about the cribs' dangers as well as personal stories.

Richard Ancona, vice president of a New York chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said he advises parents to avoid the cribs.

Henning and Michele Witte, of Merrick, who testified, lost a child in 1997 when their 10-month-old-son, Tyler Jonathan, died when he became stuck in his crib. They said they hope a state ban will lead to a federal ban.

Assemb. Ginny Fields (D-Oakdale) and several state senators are sponsoring the bill that was introduced in December 2009. A Fuschillo spokesman said the bill remains in committee and supporters hope to bring it to a floor vote soon.

Joyce Davis, president and founder of Keeping Babies Safe, a national nonprofit dedicated to crib safety, said she also hopes the ban will bring attention to the potential hazards in baby sleeping environments.

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