Baby choked after storage door of wooden crib suddenly opened!
The following describes a serious accident related to a wooden crib which has a height-adjustable bottom board and a storage space underneath with a door. When using the crib, the storage door suddenly opened and a baby's head was caught in a gap. The serious incident occurred twice in June and September in 2019: one baby was choked to death and another baby became seriously ill.
Structure of the wooden crib with a storage door and a height-adjustable bottom board
The following shows the structure of the crib. When the accident occurred, the bottom board was set at the middle level.
- The wooden crib has a storage space underneath.
- The storage space has a door.
- The bottom board height can be adjusted to three levels.
- The front frame can be slid up and down to open and close.
Photo 1: Wooden crib with a storage door and a height-adjustable bottom board, shown with part names (simulation of the accident)
The storage door of the wooden crib is opened. A baby dummy is facing down on the mattress and the head is caught in a gap between the mattress and the upper frame for the storage space. The dummy's body from shoulders to legs is outside of the crib.
Simulation test based on findings from the accident scene
NCAC purchased a crib of the same structure with the one related to the accident and conducted a test simulating the accident based on findings from the accident scene. The test results showed that even if the storage door was not completely locked, the door was sometimes immobilized when pins are pressed against the upper frame, which made the door closed. Under these conditions, the storage door easily opened when the baby dummy contacted the door, and once a part of the dummy's body moved out of the crib from the gap between the mattress and the upper frame for the storage space, the dummy's body from shoulders to legs slipped out of the crib. A baby has a relatively large head, so the head cannot go through the gap unlike the body from shoulders to legs. During the test, the back of the dummy's head was pressed against the upper frame for the storage space and the mouth and nose were pressed against the mattress.
Photo 2: Simulation test (close-up of the head)
Advice for consumers
In 2019, two serious accidents occurred when using a wooden crib with a storage door and a height-adjustable bottom board. Consumers using cribs are encouraged to check the structure thereof and to take preventive measures against accidents.
The cribs related to the two serious accidents and the one used for the simulation test are same type products: the height of the bottom board is adjustable to three levels.
Nevertheless, accidents may occur also when using other types of cribs if the mattress is set lower than the upper frame for the storage space, because if the storage door opens, a baby may choke or fall down.
In addition, the above accident may occur even when using products with a safety mark (e.g. PSC, JIS, SG) if the storage door is not completely locked.
Preventive measures against accidents
- Make sure the storage door is locked by pulling the door by hand each time you open and close the storage door.
It is also effective to lace the storage door and the upper frame for the storage space together so that the door is not easily opened.
- Develop the habit of locking the storage door.
Even if a baby is aged less than 12 months, and even if the bottom board is set at the highest level and the mattress is set higher than the upper frame for the storage space, the height of the bottom board needs to be lowered as a child grows. It is important to develop the habit of locking the storage door.
- When you find the storage door lock is broken, stop using the crib right away.