The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a final rule implementing safety standards for infant and toddler products including infant bath seats, toddler beds and full-size baby cribs. The new rule incorporates ASTM voluntary standards associated with the products, with some modifications. A notice, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 9, becomes effective March 24, 2014. Formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, the organization develops international voluntary consensus standards.
For bath seats, the CPSC will require all attachment components to be permanently attached to the bath seats in order to increase the safety of bath seats. The rule says:
The 2013 version of the ASTM standard contains a new definition and requirement for attachment components. The requirement specifies that all components needed to attach the bath seat to the bathtub (attachment components) must be permanently attached to the bath seat.
Some bath seats, however, are designed to provide components that are separate from the bath seat. With that design, consumers must install the attachment components, consisting of adhesive disks, onto the bathtub surface, the rule said. If the consumer fails to install the adhesive disks or fails to install them properly, these bath seats pose a tip-over hazard.
The toddler bed standard updates an ASTM standard the CPSC concluded did not improve the safety of toddler beds, because it contained several provisions for guardrail height and guardrail strength that were less stringent than the CPSC’s existing standard. The new standard ensures those safety features are up to the commission’s standards. And the new standard for full-size cribs requires that before and after testing a crib, the crib must comply with all general requirements of the standard, which deal with the distance between the side slats.
An ASTM standard was insufficient because a tested crib potentially could comply with the specific testing procedures for slats even if a slat failed during testing, but not meet the general slat spacing requirements because of the failed slat, the CPSC said. In that situation, the crib would not comply with the requirements in the current standard because the crib would not meet all of the general requirements after the crib had been tested. The rule said:
The revised standard … provides an exception for this specific situation so that a crib’s failure to meet the slat spacing requirement under the testing circumstances described above would not cause the crib to be considered noncompliant.
Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the CPSC is required to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. The law requires that these standards are to be “substantially the same as” applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standards if the commission concludes that more stringent requirements would further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product. Under the Act, the term “durable infant or toddler product” explicitly includes infant bath seats, toddler beds and full-size cribs. In accordance with the Act, the safety standards incorporate the relevant ASTM standards, with certain modifications that make the voluntary standard more stringent.
Sources: CPSC and Law360.com
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