Used-Drop Side Crib Sales Banned: Are Landfills the Only Option?

As of yesterday, all new and used drop-side crib sales in the United States are banned.  Crib manufacturers have already adapted, but what happens to every drop-side crib currently in use?  Are they all destined for disposal?

The government ban states that no crib manufactured before July 23, 2010 can be sold or even donated.  It extends to cribs sold at yard sales, resale shops, and on craigslist.

Honestly, it makes me feel ill.  I know that more than 30 babies died in the past dozen years from drop side cribs, and obviously better standards needed to be enforced.  Still, why can’t people use a crib immobilizer kit that will make any drop-side crib into a safe, stationary sleeping space for baby?   People can buy it for ten dollars and install it in under an hour.

My solid maple Child Craft crib, with plenty of life left in it, will have to be dismantled and recycled, even though there are several families and charities in desperate need of a sturdy crib.  The amount of waste that will be generated by this one act boggles my mind!  Does anyone else have ideas about what to do with their used drop-side crib?


  1. I get the ban, I guess, although (and this might make me sound like a heartless person) 30 babies in 12 years doesn’t seem like enough to make it really an issue- if everything was banned that could hurt/kill someone we’d all just be sitting in empty padded (bpa free!) rooms 24/7. I sort of think this is a decision a parent should make on their own- new stationary crib (I can’t even imagine trying to change the sheet on a crib mattress with a side that doesn’t drop!) or a crib immobilizer kit. Our son slept in the crib I slept in as a baby- a dropsided crib (although it has this sort of rail system so that the side can’t actually come lose), and our next kid will too, before we pass it along to my brother for his future babies…

  2. My parents got a drop down crib, and then disassembled it to be two rather nice baby gates. (Bungie cords helpo hold it in place, and cut tennis balls protect the walls).

  3. I sold mine a few years ago before the ban, but if I still had it around I would find a way to use the dismantled pieces in the garden–the railed sides might be good for climbing plants like peas, and the base could be turned upside down and turned into a garden bed with the addition of a bit of wood, maybe?

  4. Can you take off the drop-side and use it as a toddler bed?

  5. I just saw in our local consignment shop that they are selling them as “toddler beds”, not to be used with infants. I guess that is one way around the problem.

    I am really glad to see tougher safety standards in place, but it does create the problem of waste. I’ve seen some pretty cool used of crib pieces for storage (turn upside down, lean against a wall and use to hang magazines).

    Does the ban on selling used cribs apply only to drop-side cribs, or all cribs manufactured before July 2010? We actually bought my son’s crib that month and plan to use it as a toddler bed, so I won’t need to get rid of it for a few more years.

  6. Emily, I completely agree with your statement that the ban is excessive. I think it would have been better to just phase them out. Don’t manufacture new ones, but the cribs that have already been made can still be sold – with warnings of caution and, perhaps, with a required purchase of the immobilizer kit. Yes, that is a lot of waste.

  7. I have a beautiful almost new crib. It was expensive, and now what to do with it? There are NO flaws to it. What a waste, so much for being “green” USA….I have a feeling that some companies will enjoy the sales from people replacing these…I just feel sorry for the people who can’t afford a crib. Yet my beautiful crib will sit in a dump somewhere….

  8. to the person who said they didn’t know how they would change the crib sheets —- just pull out the whole mattress, change it and then drop it back in…

  9. Oh and 30 babies doesn’t sound like a lot unless it was YOUR baby…

  10. I liked Larisa’s idea and had been thinking along the same lines… I thought maybe I could shorten the legs and re-structure it to be a raised garden bed. It is old fashioned looking so it might look nice with pea’s climbing up the side or some other vine. What a waste though… I hate to think of the crib that my babies slept in being left out in the rain to rot. Better than the dump perhaps.

  11. You can give them away to a friend… but not for sale… I got a drop side for my new baby and I am going to get the kit to keep it safe and also screw it in the places it needs it (my husband is a handy carpenter but its an easy fix)… I got mine on a freebies list on a local classifieds.. So… If I were you I’d be thinking about looking for a mom in need personally and not necessarily through a specific site… 🙂

  12. Hello Rebecca and Joy-Thank you so much for your book. You really helped me take the leap into cloth diapering about 5 mos ago. I have a crib that I have been trying to figure out how to get rid of. I hate it just going into the waste stream. I did call our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and they said they could take the full-size headboard piece but not the other pieces. Since you guys are in Portland, could you contact the Rebuilding Center? They make such beautiful items out of salvaged wood. Maybe you could issue a design challenge. I could totally forsee beautiful end tables or other pieces being built with these crib parts. Perhaps someone with welding skills could make something out of the spring bottom piece? I also saw something in Parents magazine about using the side rails as a quilt/blanket holder. I think they had it attached to the wall.
    I am making the Restore wait for the headboard. It is currently being used to keep books from being pulled off the shelves by my 9 mos old.

  13. Our little girl just moved to a toddler bed and I was in the middle of listing our awesome all-maple crib on Craigslist when I found out about this ban. As an engineer, I simply can’t even imagine how the drop-side feature could injure a child. In fact, I would guess that future parents will simply keep the mattresses up much higher than they should be and the resulting injuries from babies climbing out will far outpace any injuries from the drop-side cribs. What a shame. The fact that this wasn’t phased out and the ban includes donating cribs has regulation corruption all over it. This was a stimulus to the crib industry plain and simple.

  14. I absolutely agree with John. I just had the same experience — went to craigslist to post a Maple crib (a really nice one that we drove 2 hrs. to Canada to buy), was stopped in my tracks. I had the same thought regarding the ban of the sale of used ones. There must have been some lobbying by the manufacturers, retailers, or both. I’m trying to think of someone in need who would appreciate this lovely and really quite safe hand-me-down. I did notice on our local craigslist several “banned” cribs for sale, though.

  15. I unknowingly bought a drop side crib on craigslist for only $20. I set it up and was so excited about my find untilI read how so many of these style cribs have been recalled. I can not find a specific recall on the one I bought but I can’t risk any babies in my care getting hurt or dying so I am not going to use it. I was in Oregon and someone had used the whol crib and planted flower in it and had a cute sign below it that said bed of flowers!! It was so cute!. I will stick with pack and plays for babies in my care all though i expect recalls on those next. ….Now what to do with this crib??

  16. Lisa, why not just buy the crib immoblizer kit linked to in the article? As long as the sides can’t drop anymore, it should be safe to use. If you’re not comfortable with that option, I was thinking of turning my old crib into a sort of couch by taking off one whole side, painting the whole thing, and adding a bunch of pillows. Let me see if I can find a link to someone who has done something similar. . . . Okay, something sort of like the first picture here. Other people in the comments talked about making the crib into a desk, like this.

  17. I think its just neglectful parenting, i may sounds mean for it my daughter 1.5 has had one for almost a year now even after the ban i got it from a friend. she has never been hurt and is never left with out a parent to check on her long enough to get hurt in it. in 12 years 30 children that’s a big span. and now to find out i can not sell give or even THROW OUT yes that’s right i can not throw out the bed kuse i can be sued if its picked up and kill a baby. so what i just pack it around for the next 65 years then my kids can pack it around then there’s tell they are so old no one knows what they are.

  18. i think it is absolutely stupid that they are banned and cant be used. as far as im concerned it is more likely the parents fault for not putting the crib together right. i am 35 and i used 2 different vintage cribs for 2 of my 3 kids and wish i would have never gave them away. i have a bad back and it hurts to bend over my 3 childs crib to get him out. i am in desperate search to find a drop down. and if something happens then it is my fault not the company or whoever sold it to me.again it is all how u used it. and i bet that the kids that died the parents wasnt using the crib right. i would love to see the reports on how they died. cause more than likely again it was the parents fault. sorry just my opinion. #sickofhurtingmybackgettingmykidsoutofhiscrib

  19. I have done my research on drop-side cribs. They are incredibly dangerous and the Immobilizer Kit doesn’t take away from its threat. This report is wrong, it’s actually 150+ children that sadly died from drop-side cribs. It’s not just the rail becoming loose, there were many reports of suffocation or deadly neck injuries from the side of the top mattress to the rail. Scary. I would NEVER take any chances when it comes to my precious son, and NO MOM SHOULD EITHER. It’s also in bad taste and insensitive to blame the parents for faulty, recalled items. I read many instances where the poor baby died in the night and the parents showed absolutely no neglect. Tragic. 🙁
    ill be getting a brand new crib for my son at Babies “R” Us.

  20. Fabio kryption says

    Well here it is 2016 and drop side cribs are all over the Internet, Craig’s list, classifieds……so apparently the ban didn’t stick very well or the government decided it wasn’t worth their time anymore to “protect” your baby from these deadly cribs.
    Personally, after raising four children successfully in them I don’t quite understand the danger if it’s used properly and not one of the cheap wobbly ones that are dangerous even when used correctly. After ready much of the hoopla about these and the ways children died in them it becomes somewhat apparent that user error and “neglect” (not so much in a legal term) would be the cause. If you don’t check the screws, keep a close eye on your child, and simply do some regular maintenance that every parent with ANY crib should do then you really should expect some kind of problem at some point and not sue when it occurs.

  21. Fabio, it seems like the debate about drop side cribs has been replaced with co-sleeping! We’ve been using a 40 year old drop side crib and it is great. I wouldn’t be able to get our baby out if the crib if not for the drop side, since I’m so short. I’ve never had a concern about its safety, and I’m actually sorry that they have fallen out of favor. That said, I’m sure there are unsafe cribs out there, just like there’s an unsafe version of most everything!

  22. I appreciate that this conversation is still active as I am finally getting around to the 27 year old crib in our basement. We’d been saving it for the next generation. Like many of you we bought a very well made solid wood crib. It’s unclear if there are effective immobilization kits that address the situation, & whether that is a legitimate ‘fix’. Also, one consignment store I called referenced additional code changes including the space between the mattress & frame. As I recall ours was Very snug. Although my town has pickup for the metal base, the wood will go into the landfill- unless we can offer on Freecycle or craigslist. If anyone has updated info for the Noston area please respond.

  23. My maple wood crib has provided a sleeping spot for my 3 daughters, neice, 2 nephews, my first grandson and my first granddaughter! The tops of the wood ends have all of their teething marks…so very sentimental…but it sounds like I won’t be able to use it anymore for a baby…the garden idea is cool…now to convince my husband…

  24. there are immobilizer kits out there that are allowed

  25. Emily mom of 3 says

    For those that dont know… carseats cribs and other baby equipment can just be taken apart broken down and if you throw away bolts etc. cut up parts you don’t want being used something as simple as a car seat strap then you can throw it away you have to do something with it and even if it means going to the landfill so be it … I had the spring part of our drop side crib hauled off for scrap metal recycling

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