In Defense of Parents who use Cribs

     There aren’t a lot of ‘causes’ I get worked up about except when it comes to children. Lately my on-going headache has been cribs. In June the federal government is making it illegal to sell (and resell Craigslisters) drop-side cribs. Almost all crib makers made the voluntary decision to stop selling them last year anyways so I thought it was all over and done. Now an industry group is trying to get some of the laws relaxed a little bit on regulations.
     Forgive me, but I think one of the places we should have the heaviest government oversight is on how companies build things for babies. Every day is seems something else being recalled and its usually something child-related. Yes, I readily acknowledge part of this is being unable to anticipate everything, but isn’t that why we pay them to make stuff, to make it safe?
     But, the part that bothers me the most is when I see people’s comments after the articles about the drop-side cribs being recalled. Almost all of the ones I read on an MSNBC article this week followed this line: It is all parental negligence and if people didn’t use the crib as a ‘dumping ground’ to keep the child out of their hair, the crib-related accidents would decrease.
     So, apparently, I am negligent every time I put my son in his crib for the night. I’ve never put him in there for any other reason and I can honestly say I’ve never heard of a parent amongst my friends who did. Why? Because nobody wants their child to view the crib as a place of punishment. We want them to be happy going into it, well as happy as a child at bed time can be. That alone has me questioning the experience of the commentators.
     Another frequent comment I saw was that crib injuries come from children trying to climb out because, parents raise the crib mattress because they can’t lift the child over the side if it does not drop down. No parent wants their child to fall; therefore, I don’t see parents purposely putting their kids in a dangerous situation likely to be a very common occurrence. With the random mother that does have a bad back, I’m guessing she uses some other sleeping arrangements such as co-sleeping or a toddler bed anyways. And surprise, not many parents know their kid is big enough to climb out of the crib until they actually do. Why? Because it is inherently counter-productive to sit in the bedroom with your child all night while they sleep on the off chance that they do happen to wake up and chose climbing over crying for you. (People also tend to forget the drop-side danger is also about kids getting trapped when the side falls suddenly, such as when they roll into it in their sleep.)
     Now here is where I admit my guilt. I had a drop-side that was recalled. I thought I HAD to have a side that dropped so I could lift my son. Well, that was before he was born. As soon as that recall hit I did about 15 seconds of soul searching to realize that I love my son far more than I love the ability to drop the side of his crib. This gives me the unique ability to say I’ve had both types of cribs and guess what? I never noticed once he could stand up that the side didn’t drop. Before he stood up, it was safe to have the mattress higher. I decided I was trained to think as lazy as a lot of people and it’s time to think ‘un-lazy’.
     I would also like to say, I understand that some of this is parents who don’t have the amount of common sense I referenced above. However, when a child’s parent is not intelligent enough to protect them from danger in common situations such as cribs and car seats, whose responsibility is it to protect them from manufacturers who are just trying to save a buck and make a buck? I didn’t hear people complaining about those Toyota’s being recalled, so why should they complain about something considered a basic necessity for babies being recalled if it’s unsafe? We have a lot of things to worry about as parents and quite frankly, I’m relieved to think that I’m getting some help in it. Child health and safety, to me, is one of those places I’m glad my tax dollars are spent on.
     And let’s not forget, part of being an adult is no longer thinking like a toddler-a true parent knows they will think of things to try in ways we never imagined!
     So, while I know a lot of people disagree with me, I just don’t think all 10,000 crib-related injuries can all be chalked up to poor parenting as people want to believe, especially since drop-side cribs have had ‘questionable’ safety for a couple decades now.
     More importantly, I doubt that it is for the reason that parents are leaving their kids in their cribs all day. If you do that, you probably didn’t want kids to begin with and well, I won’t get into that. I just wish all the people who immediately jump on their ‘too much government interference’ or ‘blame the parents’ soapbox would stop before they spout and actually give the individual issues some thought.

2 thoughts on “In Defense of Parents who use Cribs

  1. I’ve been telling people that my daughter was in a toddler bed as soon as she could walk but I guess she was in a toddler bed at 9 months. I know a lot of people would frown on that, but I didn’t feel that she was safe in her crib. She had one from birth till she was about 3 months old, but then we got her a new one because it started coming apart at the drop side supports. The new one only lasted till she was 9 months because I went to move it a few inches to vacuum under it, and the wood just split and the bracket for the mattress support was ripped off. She was in a toddler bed that night. I felt so much better with her out of those cribs. They made me nervous!

  2. Yikes, sounds like you’ve had really bad luck with the cribs! To me just more reason for a little more regulation. Stuff that breaks when you move it to vacuum shouldn’t be sold for babies.

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