Products Liability Law Daily CPSC revises safety standard for toddler beds
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Friday, October 25, 2019

CPSC revises safety standard for toddler beds

By Susan Engstrom

The agency will incorporate by reference changes introduced in two recent versions of the ASTM standard.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a direct final rule revising its standard for toddler beds to incorporate by reference the most recent versions of the applicable ASTM standard, including a clarification of performance and testing requirements for mattress support systems and side rail attachments. The rule will take effect on January 27, 2020, unless the agency receives significant adverse comment by November 25, 2019. If CPSC receives timely significant adverse comments, the agency will publish notification in the Federal Register, withdrawing the final rule before its effective date (CPSC Direct Final Rule84 FR 57315, October 25, 2019).

In February 2017, CPSC published an update to the consumer product safety standard for toddler beds [see Products Liability Law Daily’s February 22, 2017 analysis]. The standard incorporated by reference the applicable ASTM voluntary standard. ASTM has since published two revised versions of the voluntary standard for toddler beds, which the CPSC is incorporating by reference into the direct final rule.

Background. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) directs CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, such as toddler beds. The law requires the standards to be “substantially the same as” applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standards if the Commission concludes that more stringent requirements are necessary to further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product. Section 104(b)(4)(B) of the CPSIA also sets forth a process whereby CPSC can update its durable infant or toddler standards when a voluntary standard group changes a voluntary standard on which the CPSC standard was based.

In accordance with that section, in April 2011, CPSC published a safety standard that incorporated by reference ASTM F1821–09, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toddler Beds, along with several modifications, as a mandatory consumer product safety standard (76 FR 22019 (April 20, 2011)); correction notice 1 (76 FR 27882 (May 13, 2011)). In April 2015, ASTM officially notified CPSC that ASTM had revised ASTM’s toddler bed standard and had published a revised 2015 version of ASTM F1821. Due to an inadvertent omission in the revised standard, the Commission voted unanimously (5–0) to retain the existing consumer product safety standard. In December 2016, ASTM notified the CPSC of ASTM’s approval and publication of ASTM F1821–16, Standard Consumer Safety Specifications for Toddler Beds, which corrects the previous omission. The Commission published a Federal Register notice incorporating that standard into 16 CFR part 1217 as the safety standard for toddler beds, effective June 6, 2017 (82 FR 11317, February 22, 2017).

ASTM subsequently published revised versions of F1821 in 2018 and 2019. Those versions not only update the standard to reflect clarifications to testing for consistency, but also harmonize the standard with other juvenile product standards. ASTM did not notify CPSC of F1821-18 because ASTM was waiting to make an additional change to the standard. ASTM notified the Commission of F1821-19 in July 2019, and subsequently published an editorial version, ASTM F1821-19ε1, which corrects two typographical errors in the 2019 version but does not change its content. The direct final rule is incorporating F1821-19ε1 as the mandatory standard.

Revisions to mandatory safety standard. Pursuant to the CPSIA, CPSC has determined that the changes made in ASTM F1821-19ε1 will either improve the safety of toddler beds 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 statute, effective January 27, 2020. The differences between the current CPSC standard and the most recent revisions to the voluntary standard include:

  • The addition of the word "environmental" in the following sentence: "It is the responsibility of the users of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use."
  • The addition of language stating that ASTM developed the standard in accordance with principles recognized by the World Trade Organization.
  • A new definition of "corner post" (i.e., a "vertical post located at the corner of a product").
  • A clarification stating that both the mattress support system and the side rail attachments must be tested. This was added because some toddler beds have separate mattress support systems and side rail attachments to the end structure. The revision removes ambiguity and ensures more consistent testing.

Finally, CPSC stated that the agency-accredited laboratories for testing in accordance with ASTM F1821-16 have the competence to test in accordance with ASTM F1821-19ε1 as well. Therefore, 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 ChildrensProductsNews BabyProductsNews

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