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Family Voices — Bobby’s Story

Bobby died when the side rail of his crib detached, trapping and suffocating him.

Submitted by his parents

Bobby was exactly six months and three days old when the side rail of his drop-side crib came loose, entrapping and suffocating him between the mattress and rail. Although his death at first seemed like a freak accident, as Bobby’s parents began researching crib deaths they learned that Bobby was one of at least thirty-two children since 2000 that suffocated or strangled in a drop-side crib.

As the reality of his death sank in, it was hard for his parents not to fixate on all the losses: Bobby’s big sister, Jennifer, would never get a chance to teach him how to navigate life. Bobby would never meet his other two siblings. He would never blow out a birthday candle.

However, once Bobby’s parents fully comprehended just how many children were being injured by this unsafe crib design, they were driven to action. Since Bobby’s death, the couple has worked ceaselessly to ensure that no other child is injured or killed by drop-side cribs.

What’s Happened Since Bobby’s Death?

Bobby’s parents worked with lawmakers to ban drop-side cribs in Suffolk, Nassau and Rockland counties in New York. They worked with other New York families who’ve lost children to unsafe children’s products to launch the first annual Project Safe Child Walk-a-Thon to raise funds to support the work of organizations like KID.

On a national level, they testified in 2010 before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Education at a crib safety hearing. Their efforts paid off: On June 28, 2011 the world’s strongest crib standard went into effect, ensuring at long last that new cribs coming onto the market will provide a safe haven for babies and their families through a ban on the drop-side crib design, stringent testing standards and other improvements.

And the work continues. Nothing will bring Bobby back to his family, but his parents’ dedication to ridding the world of unsafe cribs is helping to save other children.

How You Can Take Action

To take action and help prevent further incidents, injuries, and deaths, there are a number of things you can do:

  1. Any time you buy a play yard or portable crib, check that the manufacture date is after February 28th, 2013 to make sure that it meets the strong standards set by CPSC.
  2. Register all infant and toddler durable products so you can be alerted to recalls.
  3. Check all sleep environments like cribs and other children’s products for recalls by visiting and typing searching the recall database.
  4. Register for KID’s monthly email alert to stay up-to-date on all children’s product recalls and receive safety tips and information.

More Information on Cribs

Although mandatory standards exist for cribs, only recently has an effort been made to strengthen those standards and require testing and verification of new cribs. Because of these standards, all cribs must include proper assembly instructions and diagrams as well as cautionary and warning labels as required by federal law.

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