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What Are Drop Side Cribs And Why They Were Banned?

Drop-side cribs have 1 or 2 flexible crib sides so that parents or caregivers can easily pick up and put down the baby. There were several types of them. It was so popular among parents because of the flexibility they offered.

Drop-side cribs were designed in a way so that the sides slide easily. Parents having short height or back pain loved it so much. But the U.S. CPSC banned these drop-side cribs because of the safety issues. They also banned donating such cribs as well.

drop-side crib
Image Credit: CPSC.GOV

The CPSC recalled more than 11 million of drop-side cribs in between 2007 to 2011 and the banned list is growing till now. In 2009, it recalled 2 million drop-side cribs of the StorkCraft cribs.

Not just the StorkCraft crib, more than 20 of such brands’ drop-side cribs were recalled between 2007 to 2011. However, they don’t manufacture such cribs anymore.

Immediately after the recall, several retailers like Babies-R-Us and Wal-Mart stopped selling those cribs due to safety reasons. In fact, you can’t find those drop-side cribs in modern days because the production of which is illegal.

So, why the CPSC banned those drop-side cribs exactly?

Well as I said above, drop-side cribs are dangerous for the newborn baby. And the danger comes from the sliding functionality of those cribs. While the sliding rails were a relief for the parents, it had proved to be life-threatening for the baby.

And the threat is real!

If you do some research about the issue, you will find that at least 32 confirmed deaths happened since 2000 just for the drop-side cribs.

Because of the structural faulty design, drop-side cribs create a gap between the crib mattress and the drop-sides. The head of your baby can get stuck in that gap and suffer suffocation which may ultimately lead to death.

Reasons for Gap Creation in Drop-side Cribs

Apart from the structural faulty design, there are other reasons why gap creates in drop-side cribs. I think you should know them as well to understand why this once popular crib type is banned now.

  • Drop-side cribs had a little bit complex mechanism than the fixed side cribs. Because of the complex mechanism, repeated assembly and disassembly used to make the drop-side crib damaged easily.
  • The screws, bolts, pegs on the plastic drop-side can warp or break.
  • It’s not easy to install the drop-side rails properly which lead to functionality error.
  • Softwoods used to make the hardware become loose.
  • Sometimes, the drop-side pieces of the crib can go missing and without noticing you may misassemble it.

In addition to the above-mentioned points, drop-side cribs are less structurally sound than the fixed side cribs. The U.S. CPSC has determined this fact. The CPSC has confirmed that the hardware of the drop-side cribs is prone to break easily.

What You Can Do?

Well, you have learned about drop-side crib and I am pretty sure by now you understand why you should not use it. Using a drop-side crib will increase the chance of entrapment of your baby which may lead to suffocation and death. Manufacturing, marketing, and selling drop-side cribs are illegal as per Federal Laws.

However, it’s your baby and to keep your baby safe from any unfortunate accidents, keep in mind the following points:

  1. There should not be any gap of 1 or 2 fingers between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  2. If you have managed to have a drop-side crib anyhow (maybe from eBay?), simply don’t let your baby in it. If you can’t afford to buy a new fixed-side crib, contact the manufacturer for a retrofit kit so that you can convert it to a fixed side crib. Repairing an existing crib is never recommended. Using the retrofit kit is only suggested when you REALLY can’t afford a new crib.
  3. Drop-side or fixed side, never ever modify the crib. This is the worst thing you can do for your baby.
  4. If you notice any broken parts (damaged) or missing pieces in the crib, discontinue using it. Don’t try to get the broken or missing parts from the flea market.
  5. Check the recall list in the CPSC website to see whether your crib is listed or not. Because new cribs are also get listed to the recalled list frequently. If listed, contact with the manufacturer to get your refund or maybe the company will send you a fixed side crib in exchange.
  6. A routine check should be conducted to make sure all the hardware is adequately tightened and you have a sturdy crib.
  7. When you move a lot from one location to another, you have to go through several times of assembly and reassembly of the crib which may damage the integrity of the crib. Buy a quality fixed-sided crib that will remain sturdy even after several reassemblies.
  8. Do not gift or donate your old drop-side crib to anyone either.


With such a brief article, I believe you have learned everything about drop-side cribs. They were great for a while until the safety issue raised. Since they are no longer available, you have to for the fixed side cribs.

Since you have learned it, spread this article among your friends and family cycles. If you know someone is still using it somehow, tell them to immediately stop it.

And lastly, if you have anything to add or learn more about drop-side cribs, just let me know in the comment box.