Products Liability Law Daily CPSC proposes mandatory safety standard for crib mattresses
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

CPSC proposes mandatory safety standard for crib mattresses

By Kathleen Bianco, J.D.

Proposed rule would add "crib mattresses" to the list of durable infant and toddler products and would strengthen warning labels.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has proposed a new mandatory safety standard for crib mattresses, incorporating by reference ASTM F2933-19, with modifications to make the standard more stringent. The proposed rule, intended to improve safety and reduce the risk of injury, would apply to full-size and non-full-size crib mattresses, as well as after-market mattresses for play yards and non-full-size cribs. Additionally, the agency seeks to amend its consumer registration requirements to identify the above-mentioned crib mattresses as durable infant or toddler products. CPSC also would update its list of notice of requirements (NORs) to include the identified crib mattresses. Comments on the proposal are due by January 11, 2021 (CPSC Proposed Rule85 FR 67906, October 26, 2020).

Pursuant to the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, CPSC is tasked with developing and adopting consumer product safety standards for durable infant and toddler products in an effort to reduce the risk of injury associated with these products. In furtherance of that mandate, the agency has issued a proposal to adopt a mandatory safety standard applicable to crib mattresses. After reviewing incident data, CPSC staff identified a number of mattress-use factors associated with deaths and serious injuries related to sudden and unexpected infant death (SUID), including prone position of sleeping infants, soft bedding added to the sleep area, and gaps/pockets between mattresses and the sides of cribs and play yards. The proposed safety standard is intended to address these concerns.

The proposed rule would create a new Part 1241 entitled "Safety Standard for Crib Mattresses," and would amend Parts 1112 and 1130 to allow for third-party conformity certification and the addition of "crib mattresses" to the list of durable infant or toddler products requiring consumer registration. Moreover, the proposal seeks to revise the warning label for full-size mattresses to more fully and explicitly highlight the appropriate use of the product and the associated hazards of failing to follow such guidelines.

In addition to recommending certification and registration requirements, the proposed rule addresses:

  1. suffocation hazards associated with crib mattresses, due to overly soft mattresses, by adding a test for mattress firmness;
  2. entrapment hazards associated with full-size crib mattresses, due to poor mattress fit from compression by sheets;
  3. entrapment hazards associated with after-market, non-full-size crib mattresses;
  4. laceration hazards associated with coils and springs breaking and poking through mattresses; and
  5. risks of SIDS and suffocation related to infant positioning, soft bedding, and gap entrapment, by improving the labeling and instructional literature requirements to better communicate risks to consumers, and to clarify requirements for manufacturers and test labs.

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