New Safety Standards For Play Yards
07.11.12 Stricter manufacturing rules for children's product after infants' deaths
The safety rules for play yards and portable cribs are about to get stricter thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which unanimously voted to toughen these guidelines, The Associated Press and The Washington Post report. However, the CPSC "scrapped a proposal meant to address the hazards that led to the death of a 3-month-old a year ago," according to the Washington Post article.
"The CPSC says it's received reports of more than 2,100 incidents involving play yards, including 60 fatalities and 170 injuries, between November 2007 and December 2011," The Associated Press reports.
According to the CPSC release, the mandatory requirements for play yards will now include:
- A stability test to prevent the play yard from tipping over.
- Latch and lock mechanisms to keep the play yard from folding on a child when it's in use.
- Entrapment tests for attachments so a child's head does not get trapped while a bassinet or other accessory is attached.
- Floor strength tests to ensure structural integrity and to prevent children from getting trapped by the play yard floor.
- Minimum side height requirements to prevent children from getting out of the play yard on their own.
- A test to prevent play yards whose top rails fold downward from using a hinge that creates a V or diamond shape when folded to prevent head and neck entrapment.
Both articles noted that regulators and consumer advocates agree the new rules are significant. However, consumer groups are upset after the removal of a provision that dealt with bassinets and accessories. According to the Washington Post report: "The 3-month-old girl ... was napping in a bassinet that snapped onto her play yard when the bassinet detached and tilted, pushing her face into the mesh side wall of the play yard. She suffocated. The play yard was not assembled properly and the stricken provision was meant to deal with that issue."
According to the CPSC release, the standards will go into effect "six months after the final rule is published in the Federal Register."
From time to time, manufacturers and federal groups have to pull baby gear products off the shelves for various safety reasons. Check out our Recalls page for a list of pulled baby items.