By Colleen Kave, J.D.
A final rule addressing safety standards for infant bath tubs pursuant to Section 104(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 has been issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This mandatory consumer product safety standard incorporates by reference without modification the most recent voluntary standard, ASTM F2670–17, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Bath Tubs, developed by ASTM International and modified since the August 2015 notice of proposed rulemaking for infant tubs (80 FR 48769). Additionally, the final rule amends the regulations regarding third party conformity assessment bodies to include the mandatory standard for infant bath tubs in the list of notices of requirements (NORs) issued by CPSC. The effective date of the final rule is October 2, 2017 (CPSC Final Rule, 82 FR 15615, March 30, 2017).
The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, section 104 of the CPSIA, requires CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. Although section 104(f)(2) does not specifically identify infant bath tubs, CPSC has defined infant bath tubs as a "durable infant or toddler product" in its product registration card rule under CPSIA section 104(d). ASTM F2670–17 defines an "infant bath tub" as a "tub, enclosure, or other similar product intended to hold water and be placed into an adult bath tub, sink, or on top of other surfaces to provide support or containment, or both, for an infant in a reclining, sitting, or standing position during bathing by a caregiver." Falling within this definition are products of various designs, including "bucket style" tubs that support a child sitting upright, tubs with an inclined seat for infants too young to sit unsupported, inflatable tubs, folding tubs, and tubs with spa features, such as handheld shower attachments and even whirlpool settings. The ASTM standard permits infant bath tubs to have "a permanent or removable passive crotch restraint as part of their design," but does not permit "any additional restraint system(s) which requires action on the part of the caregiver to secure or release." ASTM F2670– 17 excludes from its scope "products commonly known as bath slings, typically made of fabric or mesh."
CPSC’s final rule for infant bath tubs incorporates by reference ASTM F2670–17, without modification. In addition to the scope and terminology described in the voluntary standard, the final rule enumerates the general requirements for infant bath tubs, addressing issues such as sharp edges or points; small parts; lead content of paint and surface coatings; resistance to collapse; scissoring, shearing, and pinching; openings; protective components; requirements for toys; and labeling. The standard also contains performance requirements for restraint systems, static load, and suction cups, and it sets forth test methods for those performance requirements. With respect to marking and labeling, the safety standard establishes the substance, format, and prominence requirements for warnings on infant tubs and product packaging and for instructional literature provided with the infant tubs.
Finally, the final rule amends 16 CFR Part 1112 to add a new § 1112.15(b)(41) that lists 16 CFR part 1234, Safety Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Bath Tubs, as a children’s product safety rule for which the Commission has issued an NOR. Section XIII of the preamble provides additional background information regarding certification of infant bath tubs and issuance of an NOR.
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