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The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently cautioned parents about used cribs that may pose a safety hazard. Crib deaths are now at about 50 a year in the United States. In most cases, infants strangled or suffocated when they became trapped in the side of the crib or in an end that had separated from the rest of the crib because of loose or missing hardware.

Before 1973, when the CPSC and the crib industry started to set safety standards, the annual crib death rate was an estimated 150 to 200.Since the industry started implementing safety standards, the majority of cribs involved in infant deaths were previously owned. Parents received them as "hand-me-downs" or purchased them at yard sales or flea markets.

Babies spend more time in cribs than in any other kind of furniture. A crib is the one place where parents should feel safe to leave their babies unattended, said a CPSC spokesman.

The CPSC recommends that cribs meet the following guidelines:

- No missing, loose, broken or improperly-installed screws, brackets or other loose hardware on the crib or the mattress support.

- No more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through the slats. If a soda can fits easily through the slats, the spaces between them are too wide.

- A firm, snug-fitting mattress so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib.

- No corner posts over 1/16 of an inch above the end panels (unless they are over 16 inches high for a canopy) so the baby can't catch its clothing and strangle.

- No cutout areas on the headboard or footboard so a baby's head can't get trapped.

- A mattress support that does not easily pull apart from the corner posts so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and crib.

- No cracked or peeling paint to prevent lead poisoning.

- No splinters or rough edges.

Fahrenheit vs. Celsius

Need a simple way to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit?

For a rough estimate, double the Celsius number and add 30. For example, if you were in Montreal in February and you saw a sign flashing -15, that would mean minus 15 degrees Celsius. Double that, and you get minus 30; add 30 and you get zero. But it's not perfect.

The accurate (but harder to remember) way to convert from Celsius is to multiply by 1.8 and add 32; to convert to Celsius, subtract 32 and divide by 1.8. In our example, Montreal's minus 15 Celsius actually would be 5 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. - Cox News Service