Special Report: Crib caution
Before you pack up and check in, 7News checked out an item that could be putting the littlest vacationers at risk: hotel cribs.
"Anything where a child can get out or injured, that's your main concern," said Michael Shelgren, from Safe Start Childproofing services in Westwood.
7News worked with this crib safety expert to put hotel cribs to the test. We booked rooms in several Boston-area hotels and checked out five different cribs.
And what we found will not have parents sleeping so soundly.
All five cribs had one very dangerous problem: huge adult-sized sheets wrapped around a baby-size mattress. That's a major hazard.
"When a child is in here during the night, they can pick the sheet up and roll over," Shelgren said. "This can be a suffocation risk."
Four cribs had another potential danger: flooring that wasn't tied down. This could trap a jumping child. The board can fall through as a result of the child jumping, which is very dangerous.
Three cribs had edges that could catch a baby's clothes.
"It can cause them to strangle, potentially," Shelgren said.
Two cribs at a five-star hotel were given no stars by our expert.
The biggest problem was the old mattresses that didn't fit snugly all the way around.
"There's a visible gap for the child's face to be entrapped here, posing a significant hazard for any child," Shelgren said.
Which is exactly what happened to four-month-old Garrett Davis. The mattress in his portable crib at his grandparent's didn't fit properly. His face got trapped and he suffocated.
"If we didn't use that, Garrett would still be with us today," said Joyce Davis, Garrett’s mom.
Here's why hotel cribs can pose such a problem. Most are portable, so they fold up, which can eventually wear them out. To make matters worse, four out of the five cribs we received in our rooms were not set up properly, which means they were one step closer to collapsing.
The government does issue recommendations for hotel cribs, but there are no mandatory inspections.
"If you notice that there are some hazards, some possible risks, never think that for one night it's going to be OK," said Julie Vallese, of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
So, how do you keep your family safe?
When booking a hotel room with a crib, get a checklist and ask questions.
Does the mattress fit snugly? (check)
Do the sheets fit the mattress tightly? (check)
Is the crib set up properly? (check)
And if you can go online to check, has this crib been recalled? (check)
One more tip from our expert: bring your own crib sheets from home.
This way, you can focus on family fun, rather than worrying about a potential crib crisis!
Safe Start: Child Safety Consulting, Westford Safe Start provides Complete Childproofing Services, including Quality home surveys of child safety conditions and proper installation of child safety products.
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