Products Liability Law Daily CPSC revises safety standard for non-full-size baby cribs and play yards
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

CPSC revises safety standard for non-full-size baby cribs and play yards

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

Amendments include minor changes to testing and warning label requirements.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a direct final rule revising the agency’s mandatory safety standard for non-full-size baby cribs (NFS cribs) and play yards to incorporate by reference the most recent version of the applicable ASTM standard. The rule will go into effect on January 20, 2020, unless the agency receives significant adverse input by November 22, 2019. If CPSC receives timely significant adverse comments, the agency will publish notification in the Federal Register, withdrawing this direct final rule before its effective date (CPSC Direct Final Rule84 FR 56684, October 23, 2019).

Background. Section 104(b)(1)(B) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), also known as the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, requires CPSC to assess the effectiveness of voluntary standards for durable infant or toddler products and to adopt mandatory standards for these products. The law requires that these standards be "substantially the same as" applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standards, if the agency concludes that more stringent requirements would further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product.

The CPSIA also sets forth a process for updating CPSC’s durable infant or toddler standards when the voluntary standard upon which the CPSC standard was based is changed. Section 104(b)(4)(B) of the CPSIA provides that if an organization revises a standard that has been adopted, in whole or in part, as a consumer product safety standard under this subsection, it must notify CPSC. Once the agency receives this notification, the revised voluntary standard shall be considered to be a consumer product safety standard issued by the agency under section 9 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2058), effective 180 days after the date on which the organization notifies CPSC (or such later date specified by the agency in the Federal Register) unless, within 90 days after receiving that notice, CPSC notifies the organization that it has determined that the proposed revision does not improve the safety of the consumer product covered by the standard and that the agency is retaining the existing consumer product safety standard.

CPSC previously adopted mandatory standards for NFS cribs and play yards in 16 CFR parts 1220 and 1221, respectively. The agency defines NFS cribs as "a bed that is designed to provide sleeping accommodations for an infant" that meets specified dimensions. A play yard is described as "a framed enclosure that includes a floor and mesh or fabric sides in which children sleep or play." CPSC’s mandatory standards incorporated by reference ASTM F406, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs/Play Yards (ASTM F406), which is the voluntary standard for NFS cribs and play yards. The agency issued separate rules for NFS cribs and play yards, although they are covered by the same voluntary standard, because section 104(c) of the CPSIA includes unique provisions for rules regarding cribs (both full-size and NFS cribs), applying initial crib standards to more parties than are ordinarily subject to section 104 rules.

Updated standards. The ASTM standard for NFS cribs and play yards includes performance requirements and test methods, as well as requirements for warning labels and instructional literature, to address hazards to children associated with NFS cribs and play yards. CPSC has determined that the changes made in the most recent version of the voluntary standard, ASTM F406–19, will either improve the safety of NFS cribs and play yards or are neutral with respect to safety. Therefore, the agency will allow the revised voluntary standard to become effective as a mandatory consumer product safety standard under the CPSIA.

The differences between the current CPSC standard and the most recent revision to the voluntary standard include:

  • a revised toehold provision in the construction and finishing requirements for NFS cribs;
  • an editorial revision that does not alter the substantive requirements for NFS cribs or affect safety;
  • revised and additional requirements to ensure that provisions regarding entrapment in accessories to play yards address cantilevered accessories;
  • clarification of where to place a stability testing device in play yards;
  • a modified mattress vertical displacement test for play yards, and an accompanying definition for "mattress support surface"; and
  • an alternate on-product warning label for products intended for use in child care facilities.

Finally, CPSC stated that the agency-accredited laboratories for testing to the previous version of the voluntary standard are also capable of testing to ASTM F406–19. Accordingly, the existing Notice of Requirements (NOR) for this standard will remain in place, and CPSC-accepted third party conformity assessment bodies are expected to update the scope of the testing laboratories’ accreditation to reflect the revised standard in the normal course of renewing their accreditation.

MainStory: TopStory BabyProductsNews

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