The Checkout

Another Simplicity Crib Recall

Annys Shin

There's been so many Simplicity recalls, it's getting hard to keep them straight.

A few weeks ago, retailers recalled 900,000 Simplicity bassinets.

Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that nine major retailers are recalling about 600,000 Simplicity cribs sold between January 2005 and August 2008 because the drop side can come loose, creating a gap in which babies can get caught and suffocate to death.

Fortunately in this case, no deaths were associated with the cribs.

Simplicity recalled 1 million cribs last September because of problems with the drop side detaching, after the death of three infants.

The models being recalled today are of a slightly different design than the ones recalled last year, but apparently pose the same hazard.

Unlike the last recall, SFCA, the company that now owns Simplicity's assets and has basically continued its business, is on record as cooperating with CPSC and retailers to make sure the recall goes smoothly. In August, CPSC issued a warning about the bassinets, in which it called out SFCA for not cooperating by not doing a recall.

SFCA, which is an affiliate of Blackstreet Capital, a Bethesda private equity firm, initially said that it is not legally responsible for products previously made by Simplicity. SFCA isn't saying that as loudly, but if you notice the retailers are doing this recall too, taking back merchandise and handing out refunds and store credit.

There is a legal argument that SFCA has little choice. If SFCA did assume responsibility for some old Simplicity products, it might open itself to lawsuits for products that it didn't design or manufacture.

Safety advocates, however, have argued that there is the legal option and then there is the social one and have called on SFCA to do more to help consumers with recalled bassinets.

What do you think SFCA should be doing?

By Annys Shin |  September 17, 2008; 11:20 AM ET Annys Shin
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Comments

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SFCA seems to be doing everything it can by helping retailers and providing info to CPSC. For consumers, the important point is they have places to go to get a refund - so what's the issue? What would be the "social responsibility" for SFCA to its employees if it was deluged with lawsuits and it had to layoff workers because of products that it didn't make.

Posted by: Concerned | September 17, 2008 6:15 PM

I bought this crib for my daughter before all of the problems with Simplicity and I think that the new owners need to accept responsibility for these products. They bought the company knowing its reputation and this should have been expected. This model of crib is almost exactly like the other recalled cribs. In fact, my husband was going to bolt down the side rail anyway, but we trusted that our model was safe. Apparently we were wrong. Hopefully we can get enough of a rebate to buy her another crib so at least she will have somewhere to sleep. Now I don't even want her in this crib; who knows what else may go wrong with it.

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Posted by: eddy | September 24, 2008 5:54 PM

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