Total Recall

Does using recalled baby items make you a bad mom?

Perhaps it’s just on my radar now that I’m a new mom, but doesn’t it seem like every day another product is recalled because it threatens to maim, sicken, or kill our children? Tylenol, baby slings, strollers—I mean, what’s next? Cribs. Yup, them too. At this point, I’m considering padding my 10-month-old son in bubble wrap and tucking him away in a hygienically sealed room until he’s 18.

It’s the crib controversy that has me most concerned— public enemy No. 1, in particular: the drop-side crib. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled more than 7 million drop-side cribs from 11 brands in the past five years—the most recent culprits Golden Baby, Sorelle and C&T International, Graco and Simplicity. And now the government group is saying it plans to ban them altogether by the end of the year. (If you want a list of the latest product recalls, check out the CPSC website .)

Why all the hubbub? Well, for one, over time the adjustable rail can loosen, creating a space between the rail and the bed that babies can get caught in, causing injury and, in extreme cases, death from strangulation. The other issue for exhausted parents like myself whose child still doesn’t sleep through the night is forgetting to put the side rail up from time to time—which has ER visit written all over it if your mobile tot attempts a jail break.

I actually have two drop-side cribs—one for my son, Jack, and one for our little one on the way. I have to admit that I’ve been dragging my feet on whether to buy new cribs now or not. I’m not one to overreact to product recalls—after all, I still use my Maclaren stroller, recalled last fall for amputating the fingers of a few kids. Not that I want my son to lose a finger, but when every day consists of battles likes keeping him away from his favorite toy, the toilet bowl brush, and his favorite activity, chewing on the bottoms of my shoes, I’ve come to prioritize the household dangers. The stroller seems like the safest thing in the house right now.

But recently the side temporarily came “off the rails” on his crib (thanks, I’m sure, to my son’s fondness for shaking and kicking the sides in the morning), and even though we fixed it, my imagination has started running wild with fears walking post-nap to find his head wedged in the gap we created. I ask my husband every night: Should we get a new one?

As a short parent, I like the drop-side because it makes it getting your kid in and out of bed much easier. When the rail is up, I literally have to drop my sleeping son onto the mattress, which produces the same frustrating result every time: He wakes up. Plus, I’m not keen on spending thousands of dollars on higher-end models like the rounded Stokke Sleepi (even if it’s the crib of choice of the Jolie-Pitts).

Fortunately, I think I’ve finally found a solution for budget-conscious moms like me: Ikea. Yep, the Swedish furniture depot that basically sponsored my 20s (and probably yours) produces several models with static rails, all modestly priced. Some are convertible, meaning they turn into toddler beds, and all are fairly Spartan-like in design (which is probably a good thing since the bells and whistles tend to cause all the problems). They even received an “A” rating from the baby product bible Baby Bargains, and Consumer Reports gave the Leksvik model (retails for $159) its “Best Buy” stamp. And best of all, they tend to get a thumbs up from short mommas like me.

I’m considering having a new Ikea crib in place by the time we move into our new house next week … but I’m still on the fence. Are there other moms out there who are using Ikea cribs and like them? And more importantly, are there other moms who are slow as slow to react to product recalls as I am?

Anne Taulane is the editor of Pennsylvania’s Wine & Spirits Quarterly. When she’s not thinking about wine and spirits, she writes about family, health, and pregnancy.