Products Liability Law Daily Safety standard for stationary activity centers announced by CPSC
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Safety standard for stationary activity centers announced by CPSC

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

Final rule incorporates by reference the current voluntary safety standard.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a safety standard for stationary activity centers (SACs) pursuant to Section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), also known as the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act. This rule incorporates by reference ASTM F2012–18e1, Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Stationary Activity Centers, and also amends the regulations for third party conformity assessment bodies to include the safety standard for SACs in the list of notices of requirements (NORs). The rule will become effective on December 18, 2019 (CPSC Final Rule84 FR 28205, June 18, 2019).

Background. The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act requires CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. These standards are to be "substantially the same as" applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standard if the agency concludes that more stringent requirements would further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product. Section 104(f) of the CPSIA specifically identifies SACs as a durable infant or toddler product.

As defined in the voluntary standard, an SAC is "a freestanding product intended to remain stationary that enables a sitting or standing occupant whose torso is completely surrounded by the product to walk, rock, play, spin or bounce, or all of these, within a limited range of motion." The intended users of SACs are children who have not yet learned to walk, but are able to hold up their heads unassisted. SACs vary in style and design complexity, but typically consist of a seating area that is suspended from a frame by springs, or supported from the bottom by a fixed base. For spring-supported SACs, children should not be able to have their feet flat on the ground when using the product. Doorway jumpers are not included in the definition of SACs.

CPSC is aware of a total of 4,035 nonfatal incidents related to SACs that occurred between January 2013 and February 2019. While there are no reports of fatalities associated with the use of these products, there were 304 nonfatal injury incidents related to SACs that reportedly occurred during that time period. Twenty-four children were reported to have been treated at, and released from, hospital emergency departments, with injuries including head injuries, limb fractures, contusions, foot/leg/pelvic bruising, limb entrapments, fractures, swelling, and allergic reactions to the product’s finish or materials. Hazard patterns associated with SACs include: spring support issues; problems with toy accessories; support strap issues; structural integrity problems; seat/seat pad issues; stability issues; electrical problems; and design issues.

Proposed rule. In June 2018, CPSC issued a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM), proposing to incorporate by reference the voluntary standard for SACs, ASTM F2012–18e1, without modifications (83 FR 28390, June 19, 2018). CPSC concluded that the voluntary standard sufficiently addressed many of the general hazards associated with the use of SACs given the low frequency and low severity of incidents and injuries reported. Among the hazards addressed by the voluntary standard are sharp points, small parts, lead in paint, scissoring, shearing, pinching, openings, exposed coil springs, locking and latching, unintentional folding, labeling, protective components, flammability, and toy accessories that are sold with the carrier.

CPSC received two comments in response to the NPRM. The first comment, from JPMA (a national non-profit trade association that represents producers, importers, and distributors of childcare articles), expressed support for the proposed rule and CPSC staff’s collaboration with ASTM. The second comment also expressed general support for the proposed rule, but stated that there should be oversight of small manufacturers and importers. However, the commenter apparently misunderstood the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis to mean that the rule would not apply to small entities; the agency asserts that this is incorrect, and that the rule applies to all manufacturers and importers of SACs sold in the United States.

Final rule. In this final rule, CPSC incorporates by reference ASTM F2012–18e1, with no modifications, as the mandatory safety standard for SACs. CPSC staff consulted with manufacturers, retailers, trade organizations, laboratories, consumer advocacy groups, consultants, and the public to develop this standard, largely through the ASTM standard development process. In addition, this final rule amends the list of NORs in 16 CFR part 1112 to include the standard for SACs.

MainStory: TopStory FinalRules CPSCNews BabyProductsNews

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