The power of the partnership between survivor advocates and injury prevention professionals far
exceeds the power of either working alone.


John and Rose Lineweaver
The Danny Foundation


When John and Rose Lineweaver were married in 1981, their merged family had 11 adopted children. When Danny was born in 1982, he made it an even dozen. On July 14, 1984, just before his second birthday, he fussed when put into his crib for a nap. Shortly, the room became quiet. When the Lineweavers went to check on him, they found him hanging outside his crib, his shirt caught on the corner post extension of his crib. Strangled, he suffered permanent brain damage and severe disability. Danny died peacefully at age eleven from complications of a respiratory illness.


At first, the Lineweavers thought that what had happened to Danny was a unique “freak accident”. But they soon learned that 40 children had died in similar circumstances between 1973-1985, and realized that there could be many more incidents that they had not heard about. And death was only part of the tragedy. How many little ones like Danny had survived, only to live very restricted and care-intensive lives?

They hired a law firm to determine what, if anything, they could do. They sued the crib manufacturer and the retail outlet that sold them Danny's crib. A settlement from the lawsuit permitted them to create and provide initial funding for The Danny Foundation in 1986.

The Danny Foundation’s mission is to educate the public about crib dangers and to eliminate the millions of unsafe cribs currently in use or in storage. Cribs are the only juvenile product manufactured for the express purpose of leaving a child unattended. Therefore, we must take extraordinary care to ensure that a crib is the safest possible environment. The Danny Foundation provides citizen leadership in the development of regulatory standards for safe nursery products.

The Lineweavers were appalled to learn that there was only one mandatory standard for crib safety, dating back to 1970s, which addressed slat spacing. It set the widest allowable distance between crib slats at 2 3/8 inches. Wider spaces had permitted children to slide their bodies but not their heads through the openings. The weight of their bodies outside the crib would cause strangulation.

But Danny had dangled by his shirt caught on the crib’s corner post. The Lineweavers wanted to pass a law about crib corner posts, but discovered they could only get a voluntary standard. They agreed to work with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), a century-old, not-for-profit voluntary standards setting organization.

In 1986, the allowable height for a crib’s corner post was reduced from 2-3 inches to 5/8 inch. Then Temple University conducted a study and found this height was just as lethal. ASTM dropped the standard to an allowable height of 1/16 inch.

But the Lineweavers also discovered another terrible reality. CPSC and ASTM standards applied only to new cribs. They estimated that there were 20-30 million cribs in storage or in use at that time. They petitioned CPSC to recall all unsafe cribs, but the petition was denied.

Attempts at recalls have been dismal because manufacturers are responsible for administrating them. Because of the threat of liability, manufacturers have never supported these efforts. John Lineweaver notes that “common sense would tell you they could sell more cribs if all the dangerous ones were destroyed”, but the liability issue is so threatening that manufacturers have never really supported any recall efforts.

Manufacturers identify each crib by model number. The Danny Foundation believes that manufacturers and model numbers are almost irrelevant for older cribs. If you explain to people what to look for in a dangerous crib, people are smart enough to know if they have one. A new petition was filed on March 20, 2000 with the CPSC requesting a total recall of unsafe cribs.

Public education is essential. The public thinks that “if their crib hasn’t been recalled, it’s safe”. The Danny Foundation would like a quarterly education campaign for the next three years, and wants injury prevention professionals to help. A wide variety of programs are needed, such as a toll free 800# in English and Spanish, hospital and prenatal programs, and a website.

To destroy dangerous cribs, “reception stations” could be set up by, for example, Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army. Currently these organizations refuse to accept cribs, even as a donation. Waste management companies could make a real contribution. They could pickup and destroy any cribs left at “reception stations”. The Danny Foundation supports giving people tax credits for donating dangerous cribs.

In 1994, at the urging of the Danny Foundation and partners, California was the first state to make it illegal to use an “unsafe crib” for any commercial purpose. “Unsafe” was defined as not conforming to current standards. The law applied to resale, hotels, leasing, daycare/childcare and hospitals, etc. There is similar legislation in Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Illinois where The Danny Foundation worked with Kids In Danger. A federal bill is pending, but has no appropriations to enforce its provisions.

CPSC reports that there were about 200 crib-related deaths in 1973. Now, about 50 infants and toddlers die each year in crib-related tragedies. The Danny Foundation wants to cut that number to zero. Danny’s mother, Rose, observes that “The Danny Foundation is the only good that has resulted from my son’s tragic and needless death.”


The Danny Foundation
P.O. Box 680
Alamo, CA 94507
T: 925-314-8130