When the government announced the largest ever recall of full sized cribs in September, parents had no idea that complaints had been coming in about the Simplicity-made cribs for years.
It was only on the eve of a Chicago Tribune investigation linking Simplicity (and Simplicity made Graco) cribs to the deaths of three children, seven trapped children and at least 55 complaints—that one million of the full-size cribs were “voluntarily” recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Why did it take four years from the time of the first registered complaint in 2003 for the CPSC to act? Are they understaffed or lacking in authority?
That’s what Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked in a terse letter sent to the CPSC’s head, Nancy Nord on September 25, 2007. He gave her until October 17th to answer these questions:
Why did it take nearly four years from the first complaint of the products hazards in July 2003 to the recall announcement in September 2007? Even when an infant died in April 2005 and that was attributed to the cribs, the CPSC did little to investigate, he says.
- “It’s inconceivable to me that the CPSC could have allowed this situation to occur,” he writes saying that the public should not have to rely on journalists for this Commission to “act in a timely fashion.”
Sen. Durbin asks Nord for a detailed timeline since 2003 to find out if the CPSC was hindered in notifying the public by its own requirements that give manufacturers the right to dictate which information is released to the public about a questionable product and when it can be released.
Max Gleischman, of Sen. Durbin’s office tells IB News that the problem with recalls by the CPSC is that they are not made public. “It was the investigative media that the CPSC responded to and it’s inappropriate for investigative journalists to break the story in lieu of the watchdog agency assigned to protect us,” he says.
As of October 25, more than one week after the Senator’s request, the CPSC has yet to forward any timeline of events that occurred since the first child’s reported death in a Simplicity-made crib.