During the winter of 2008, tragically after Christmas, the strangulation death of a child by a Tots in Mind crib tent became the first to be investigated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to the CPSC, the child – who was two years of age – was found hanging with his neck entrapped between the play yard frame and the metal base rod of the tent that had been partially tied by pieces of nylon rope and partially attached by clips. The family of the wrongful death victim had improvised the nylon ties because the child was able to pop off the clips. The crib tent attaches securely to all standard cribs and includes a large soft zipper to open and close. In July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Tots in Mind crib tent manufacturer finally announced a product recall featuring a repair remedy for the attachment clips.
One product safety blog highlights that this case points out two weaknesses in the regulatory framework meant to ensure the safety of juvenile products. First, this case involved an entirely too long gap between the time when the product was found to be hazardous and the product recall. Part of the reason that the product recalls take so long is because the CPSC is always pushing to get the company to agree to do a product recall. However, the CPSC can alert the public through product warnings, prior to issuing a recall, which would inform the public and hopefully prevent further harm. Additionally, this case highlights the difficulty in dealing with baby products that are not encompassed in the CPSC regulations and are not manufactured to any voluntary or mandatory product safety standard.
To read more about the crib tent product recall, follow the hyperlink.