"Our smiles have dulled, and our family will never be complete again," Susan Cirigliano said in a sullen voice to a room full of people at Farmingdale State College on Thursday.
Cirigliano and her husband, Robert, shared the story of the death of their 6-month-old son Bobby at a public forum examining drop-side crib safety, at which legislators called for a statewide ban on the sale of the potentially deadly furniture.
The North Bellmore couple was one of two sets of Nassau County parents with tragic stories to share at the forum, which was led by State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., a Republican from Merrick, and assemblymen David McDonough, a Republican from North Merrick, Tom McKevitt, a Republican from East Meadow, and Joseph Saladino, a Republican from Massapequa.
"The one place that you would leave your child alone has become a threat," Susan Cirigliano said, remembering aloud the horror she felt in October 2004 when she discovered her infant son with his head and neck caught in the detached side rail of his crib, with his head caught against the mattress, which suffocated him.
The frightening design flaws of drop-side cribs have prompted the recall of more than 6 million cribs by the Consumer Product Safety Commission since 2007. In 2009, the products were banned in Nassau, Suffolk and Rockland counties, and are outlawed in eight states, as well. Retail giant Toys R Us refuses to carry drop-side cribs.
Fuschillo said he believes drop-side cribs should be banned at the federal level. "But, if it's not, we need to be the ninth state here in the United States to ban this," he said, as parents and representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics in New York, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and the not-for-profit organization Keeping Babies Safe testified about dealings with the CPSC, which many described as lengthy, frustrating and inadequate.
"This proposed ban on the sale of drop-side cribs in the State of New York is the most progress I have seen since 1997 when I lost my son," Michelle Witte of Merrick said as she testified alongside her husband, Henning, about their experience losing their son Tyler in a drop-side crib accident.