Sunday, August 31, 2008

This crib'll kill you

Not even remotely being flip. I don't understand how companies can willingly, openly sell products that have caused a child's death. Corporate greed, apathy, blah blah blah, come up with your own lame excuse. There is no excuse. A sleeping child should not be at risk of dying because, oh, they moved the wrong way. That is so appalling on so many levels that there almost aren't words for it.

I speak, of course, of those Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has tried -- and failed -- to get recalled after a six-month-old girl in Kansas was strangled in one last week. According to the Associated Press, a four-month-old girl in Missouri also died in one last September. The commission can't get them recalled because SFCA Inc., which took over Simplicity in April after a previous recall of 1 million cribs (and other babies dying) put it out of business, refuses to go along with this recall. See, they didn't make and sell the product, so they can't be held responsible for it, even though they're clearly happy to profit from it by leaving it on the shelves. The Washington Post explains that since SFCA only bought Simplicity's assets, not the full company, it avoids that company's liabilities. Which, I guess, is a perfectly legal way to be a weasel. (Read the Post article here.)

So what's happening is, the commission told six major retailers -- that would be Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Kmart, Big Lots, Target and J.C. Penney -- to pull the cribs from their shelves. And if you buy it somewhere else? Then what?

Above you can see the commission's lovely demonstration of how a child could die in these things. I flat out don't understand 1. why anyone would think this sort of design would be safe, and 2. why companies wouldn't try harder to keep this sort of danger off the shelves in the first place. Why oh why is any old crap acceptable to market to parents? Are children really considered this disposable in this society? "Ah well, what's one or two kids"? 

Do SFCA employees use these cribs for their own kids? Or do they know better?

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