baby · crib

Laughing in the Face of a Crib Conundrum

Remember this? A few weeks ago, (who am I kidding… months!) I wrote a post about the crib I really want. It was, admittedly, a bit of a whiny post. In response to it, I experienced an outpouring of support from what readers I have left. Suggestions came from all corners of the Internet, along with assurances that I don’t have to give up on the Jenny Lind crib. Even more importantly, they were coupled with assurances that really, once baby comes, the crib he or she sleeps in will matter very little.

Those suggestions and assurances prompted me to turn to Kijiji. A little poking around, and I found it! Or, at least, close enough.

The Jenny Lind crib by Storkcraft. You won’t find this crib on shelves anywhere anymore. The seller claimed it had been purchased in late 2010 and gifted to them, only used minimally for one baby. It wasn’t the white I was looking for, but that could certainly be fixed. Excitedly, I agreed to her price – $100, with a mattress and all the fitted sheets she had to go with it.

Before and after picking it up, I went through an odd cycle of excitement and dread. A little research into this crib revealed a bit of a problem: it has a drop side. In 2009, all Storkcraft drop-side cribs were recalled and new rules related to drop-side cribs were put into place in both the United States and Canada around the same time. In my communication with the seller, she assured me that this particular crib came with the parts designed to fix the side, making it safe. Perfect! We bought it. But, because it’s just the way I am, I couldn’t stop researching after making the decision. In the process of researching the drop-side crib – and coming up very empty handed when it comes to Canada specific guidelines – I came head-to-head with a fear I never fully expected to have. How could I really ensure that the space in which my baby slept – the most basic of human activities – was safe?

(In my research, this is what I learned about drop-side cribs in a Canadian context:

They have been recalled. It is not legal to sell them.

However, it is not illegal to own and use one. It’s not necessarily recommended, but no one is going to stop you.

Purchasing used cribs at garage sales or through online classifieds is also not recommended, but if you do it, make sure it was manufactured after 1986, since that’s when the official guidelines about cribs were last changed.

Storkcraft never admitted that their drop-side cribs are unsafe, despite the recall. Rather, they pointed out that the incidences that occurred were related to improperly assembled cribs. It is very easy to put the drop-side on up-side-down, which apparently led to the issue. Since the piece appears symmetrical to me, I’m not sure how this works, but ok.

Finding information on the immobilizing kit that manufacturers provided to owners of drop-sided cribs proved very difficult. Are these enough to make the drop-side considered ‘fixed’ and therefore legal to sell? I don’t know. Somehow, I doubt it.

Finding information about drop-side cribs was very difficult. In the end, I focused my attention on the crib guidelines from Health Canada, which our crib satisfied well enough. If anyone has any more info, please feel free to share in the comments! Note, American guidelines appear to be very different when it comes to drop sides, making it even more difficult to research.)

While still in the midst of this bit of dread, the Husband and I tried to put the crib together. We had to pick up a few new pieces of hardware, standard things that we could easily pick up at Home Depot. Those in hand, we began with that controversial drop side. The drop side has plastic claws that slide onto a track to hold it. The immobilizing clips fit on the bottom, blocking the side from sliding into the dropped position. With the Husband holding the two ends, I slid the drop side into place and attached the immobilizers. He let go of it. The wheels shot out to the right and, with a sickening snap, the right end fell, snapping the claw in the process. I hadn’t ensured both top and bottom claws were in place before giving him the go-ahead to let go.

Drop-side or no, our crib went from controversial to garbage in two short seconds. I sat on the floor and bawled.

And then, I picked myself up, found the Storkcraft website and ordered a new part (learning, in the process, that our crib was actually manufactured in 2006. Beware the Kijiji seller who doesn’t know anything about the item they’re selling.). Turns out, you can do that! I had no idea if they would send it to us. After all, we’d bought the crib used, a practice they certainly don’t recommend on their website. My order went off into the darkness of the Internet, it’s status murky and unknown. I half expected to receive an email that our crib was outside of any warranty, and besides, it’s dangerous, so throw it out immediately! We thought about different ways to fix it – four bolts, since the side is supposed to be fixed anyway. But, we thought, let’s give it some time. Maybe Storkcraft will come through.

About 4 weeks later, a package appeared on our doorstep. One claw piece, sent free of charge, no questions asked, no warning about the status of the model number of our crib.

By then, I had done all the research I possibly could and comfortably decided that our crib was not going to kill our baby. The immobilizers ensure that the claws can’t move, and besides, we’ll be co-sleeping for the first six months to a year. This in itself will help us keep Baby V safe while he or she sleeps. Replacement claw in hand, I was ready to turn our second-hand, almost perfect crib into the perfect sleeping place for our baby.

Coming soon, hopefully: a crib painting extravaganza! And a proper picture of it. Because really, a stock photo is not the same as a photo of the real thing.

(I’ll do my best to not leave you hanging too long!)

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