Washington About 1 million Simplicity and Graco cribs have been recalled after three children became entrapped and suffocated.
The recall was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Friday, more than two years after a California lawyer says he alerted the federal agency about a 9-month-old who died in a faulty crib.
"Two years and two deaths is not fast enough. It's inexcusable that it took that long," said Charles Kelly, who represents the parents of the 9-month-old. Liam Johns, of Citrus Heights, Calif., died in April 2005.
In addition to the Johns' baby, 6-month-old Edward Millwood died in November while in one of the Simplicity cribs. His parents filed suit against the manufacturer Sept. 4.
A 1-year-old child died in a newer model of the cribs, which has not been recalled but is being investigated by the safety agency, commission officials said.
In all three deaths, consumers had installed the drop-rail side of the crib upside down, the agency said. This creates a gap in the crib that children can slide into and suffocate.
Seven other infants have been entrapped in the cribs, according to the commission. There have been 55 reports of the cribs' drop sides detaching or the hardware failing to hold the side to the crib.
Kelly said he alerted the Consumer Product Safety Commission about the faulty crib in June 2005 but didn't hear from the agency again until this week, when the commission sent someone to pick up the crib. The cribs were sold in stores nationwide through May 2007.
Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said the agency has the crib, but he would not comment on the specific details of the case because it is under investigation.
"When we learn of a crib-related death, we take it very seriously," Wolfson said. "Our No. 1 goal is to obtain custody of the dangerous product for the ability to look at it or analyze it."
Simplicity Inc., of Reading, Pa., manufactured all the cribs, which were made in China. The recalled cribs were sold under the Simplicity or Graco brands, from January 1998 through May 2007. The recall involves multiple models and model numbers.
"We feel comfortable that our products are safe," Simplicity President Ken Waldman said in a telephone interview.
The newer model cribs are safe, even though the 1-year-old died in one of the updated versions, Waldman said. "There are other factors involved with that case," he said, refusing to discuss the details because of the investigation.
Child advocate Nancy A. Cowles said she feared the recall could lead parents to let their children sleep in less safe environments, such in the parents' bed. "If this scares people out of cribs, then you are going to end up with other injuries," said Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger.
Friday's recalled Simplicity crib models include: Aspen 3 in 1, Aspen 4 in 1, Nursery-in-a-Box, Crib N Changer Combo, Chelsea and Pooh 4 in 1. The recalled cribs with the Graco logo are the Aspen 3 in 1, Ultra 3 in 1, Ultra 4 in 1, Ultra 5 in 1, Whitney and the Trio.
The cribs have one of the following model numbers: 4600, 4605, 4705, 5000, 8000, 8324, 8800, 8740, 8910, 8994, 8050, 8750, 8760 and 8996. The numbers are on the envelope attached to the mattress support and on the label attached to the headboard.
The company is offering free repairs for cribs with older hardware. For more information, consumers can contact Simplicity at (888) 593-9274.