CHICAGO -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan once again took the Juvenile Products Manufactuters Association (JPMA) to task for not taking a firmer stand on "deadly" drop-side cribs.

In a Sept. 7 press release, Madigan harshly criticized the JPMA as it prepared to launch its national “Safe Sleep” campaign in Chicago, the first stop in a five-city tour. She likened the JPMA's promotion to “peddling deadly merchandise in our own backyard where we fight daily to protect our children from such harmful products.”

Madigan did not acknowledge that the JPMA and several of its members that make or import cribs, have joined with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue voluntary recalls and offer free repair kits for their drop-side cribs. Instead, she questioned why JPMA was not taking more aggressive action to alert consumers to stop using drop-side cribs.

“JPMA should take responsibility for certifying deadly drop-side cribs that have killed dozens of infants across the country," Madigan said. "They should be launching an awareness campaign to ensure parents and caregivers know drop-side cribs have a deadly flaw, and people need to stop using them immediately.” 

Madigan also again demanded that JPMA remove its Certification Seal from drop-side cribs. She noted that while ASTM International banned drop-side cribs from its safety standard in December 2009, JPMA has not required manufacturers to remove its seal from cribs that do not meet these new safety standards. 

“It’s appalling that JPMA still allows drop-side cribs to carry the JPMA certification. At least 32 children have died in drop-side cribs, over 9 million of them have been recalled, and by the end of this year, the CPSC will ban the manufacture of cribs with this deadly design,” said Madigan. “Yet JPMA still refuses to remove their seal from these deadly cribs.”

The JPMA issued a press release about its "Make Every Night a Good, SAFE Night" stop in Milwaukee on Sept. 10, the second leg of its "education and donation tour in honor of JPMA’s annually sponsored Baby Safety Month in September." Donations to New Thread of Hope in Milwaukee included cribs, portable play yards and wearable infant blankets.

In May, Madigan's office subpoenaed the JPMA to provide any of its documents related to its safety cerification program. According to the Chicago Tribune, Madigan took the action as part of an investigation about how the JPMA allowed its safety seal to be used on millions of cribs that have since been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In a statement issued two days after the Tribune story was published on May 25, the JPMA noted that it "relies upon independent CPSC accredited laboratories to verify that juvenile product comply with applicable, independently established ASTM consensus standards. The certification is based on such laboratories verification of testing of all of a manufacturer's crib models. These are the same standards to which Illinois statutes defer. When the new (ASTM) standard, effectively eliminating drop-side cribs, was approved late last year, JPMA members report that essentially all stopped manufacturing drop-side cribs and did not take advantage of the six-month phase-in period normally used in the certification program."

Further on in the statement, the association said, "JPMA has lodged a protest with the Illinois Attorney General's office regarding the way in which, as quote in the Tribune, it seems to have prejudged legal issues outside of due process of law. JPMA has no objection to an orderly inquiry and is certain its procedures will be fully vindicated. However, it does object to what seems to be an attempt to abrogate through the media its constitutional right to due process."

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