• Lyn Widmyer

New Grandmother....Outdated Crib

I recently became a first time grandmother so I hauled out the portacrib I have been saving for 34 years. I was quickly informed by my daughter and others the crib is no longer acceptable because it may be an instrument of DEATH!!!!! In 201l, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new federal requirements for overall crib safety. No more drop-side cribs. Wood slats must be stronger. Crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from coming loose or falling off.



My daughter regards the portacrib with suspicion even though she and her brother survived sleeping in it. I think the crib is safe (except for that anti-loosening device requirement). I am still relegating the crib to the trash heap to insure I will be asked to babysit on occasion.


This is a picture of my son Nick asleep in the portacrib in 1985. It’s a miracle the child survived given his life-threatening surroundings. Other than the crib itself, can you spot the other significant safety violations?



First, he is sleeping on his stomach. This is a very big NO NO. When Molly brought my

grandson home from the hospital, he was swathed in a blanket that pronounced “Back is Best.” This approach hopefully reduces incidents of crib death.


Second, there is a blanket in the crib. Another big NO NO. Blankets, comforters and pillows and even stuffed animals can lead to baby suffocation or strangulation


Third, there is a crib bumper. I don’t know how a baby can get in trouble with a baby bumper but apparently these too can lead to strangulation and suffocation.


Finally, there is a gap between the mattress and the side of the crib. This too is very, very bad. A baby might get his head caught in the gap. However, the size of Nick’s head in relation to the small triangular gap makes me wonder: Really?????


Who knew a sweet picture of my infant son asleep is actually Nick ensnared in DEATH TRAP?


I immediately ordered a Graco Pack ‘n Play which mothers and grandmothers alike recommended. This is the 2019 version of my 1985 portacrib. Although frankly it is not very portable. In fact, it weighs a ton (actually only 15 lbs. but that is a ton to a 71 year old grandmother). Figuring out how to assemble it was not easy. It also features some netting that can be used for a bassinet. My husband was thrilled, announcing, “Oh, look, it includes a trampoline.”


Now this Pack’n Play (or as I refer to it, Unpack and Pray You Can Put It Together) may meet federal safety standards but it still replete with dire alerts: WARNING!!!!! Failure to follow these warnings could result in serious injury or death! This warning applies to the adult who is assembling the crib as well as the child occupying it. Apparently not keeping ones fingers clear of top corners during setup can lead to serious boo-boos. There are directions for avoiding suffocation hazards and strangulation hazards and entanglement injuries. In all the owner’s manual is 20 pages long.



The Pack’n Play is ready to receive my grandson on his first visit to our farmhouse next month.

I am going to opt for a more traditional form of a crib than the Pack’n Play. I plan to hold my grandson in my arms every chance I get.

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