The safety standards on infant cribs are changing.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, beginning June 28, 2011, all full-size and non-full-size cribs manufactured and sold in the United States must meet new federal safety standards. These standards include prohibiting the production of drop-side rail cribs; improving the strength of the wooden slats on the sides of the crib; requiring all crib hardware to have anti-loosening devices to ensure that pieces do not come loose or fall off; making the mattress supports more durable; and mandating more rigorous safety testing before any product could be sold.

This change also affects parents and child care centers that currently use a crib for a child. All facilities, such as child care centers, must purchase cribs that are in compliance with the new federal safety standards by Dec. 28, 2012.

So what do you look for when purchasing a new crib that meets the new standard?

According to the CPSC's FAQ page on the new crib standards, prior to the June 28, 2011 deadline, a parent should ask the retail store or manufacturer whether the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219, the new federal standard for full-size cribs; or 16 CFR 1220, the new standard for non-full-size cribs.

Retailers and distributors should also be able to show the parent a certificate of compliance, which includes a description of the product, full company information of the manufacturer; as well as the records keeper and location of testing lab; identify which rule the crib complies with; and the date and location of the manufacture and testing.

According to a new crib standards guide, distributed by the CPSC, the crib must also have a label attached to it that provides the date it was manufactured.

The CPSC strongly recommends parents who use a crib for their child to purchase a new federal safety standard approved crib. This will ensure the child's safety.

If a parent chooses to not purchase a new crib, they should check the CPSC's crib recall list to make sure the crib has not been recalled; check the crib's hardware frequently to make sure there are no loose or missing parts; and stop using the drop-side rail or purchase an immobilizer.

Once a new crib is purchased, the non-compliant crib should be dismantled and disposed of properly. Do not resell, donate, or give away the non-compliant crib.

For complete details on the new federal standards and to answer questions you may have regarding these changes, visit the CPSC's official FAQ page at http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/the-new-crib-standard-questions-and....

Attempts to reach the CPSC for comment on the changes were unsuccessful as of press time.