NORWALK, Ohio - Child care centers are gearing up for the anticipated increase in business that occurs at back-to-school time, but they have some new concerns this year.
Some day cares may have to reduce the number of infants they accept, charge more or cut back on programs because they simply can't afford to buy cribs that meet new federal standards.
The government is requiring manufacturers to phase out drop-side cribs after dozens of children were injured and killed when they got caught in the moving parts. Manufacturers have created ways to stabilize the side of the crib that moves, but that wasn't enough for the Consumer Product Safety Commission .
Last June, it became illegal to sell a drop-side crib. Day cares and hotels were given extra time to update their cribs because of the cost involved. However, some day cares still don't have the new, safer cribs in place and are not sure how they will meet the deadline looming at the end of this year.
"I understand that they are trying to improve safety of the cribs and improve safety for all children, but at the same time, it is a financial hardship in order to be able to replace all of them, and they have not come up any funding in order to be able to help us out in that aspect, so we're on our own to figure that out," said Norwalk child care center administrator Jan Shingledecker.
The Child Care Resource Center works with child care providers and said this unfunded mandate is creating an extra burden on programs that run on slim budgets. The center expects in-home providers will feel the burden the most. In Lorain County, there are 148 providers watching children in their own home.
Some day cares have received grants to make the improvements. Others are thinking about programs they can cut or fundraisers they can hold to raise the necessary funds. The other option is to buy just a few cribs and reduce the number of infants accepted at a daycare.
There are exceptions to this law, including hospitals. Hospital cribs are considered to be medical devices, and those are regulated by the FDA. Churches that provide child care run by volunteers during services are also exempt from the new rules. If you take care of your child in your own home, you can still use a drop-side crib, but you may want to add an immobilizer for added protection .
The drop-side ban is just one of five new crib safety rules that went into effect last year. More rigorous safety testing, more durable mattress supports, stronger wood used for slats and anti-loosening devices for crib hardware are also required.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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