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From Products Liability Law Daily, December 6, 2013

CPSC adopts safety standard for hand-held infant carriers

By Joe Bichl

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) finalized a safety standard for hand-held infant carriers in an effort to reduce the injury and fatality risks commonly associated with the product. CPSC based its final rule on the most recent version of the ASTM standard, ASTM F2050–13a, with one modification—a clarification of the definition of ‘‘hand-held infant carrier,’’ to include a specific reference to both ‘‘rigid-sided’’ and ‘‘semi-rigid-sided’’ products (CPSC Final Rule78 FR 73415, December 6, 2013).

Background. On December 10, 2012, CPSC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for hand-held infant carriers (77 FR 73354). The NPR proposed to incorporate by reference the then current voluntary standard, ASTM F2050–12, “Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Hand-Held Infant Carriers.” Since then, ASTM has revised ASTM F2050 twice. The first revision occurred in July 2013, when the ASTM approved an updated version of the voluntary standard, ASTM F2050–13, which included the warning label modification proposed in CPSC’s NPR. The second was in September 2013, when the ASTM revised the voluntary standard, ASTM F2050–13a, to include a carry handle auto-locking performance requirement that was different than the requirement proposed in the NPR, and one which CPSC included in today’s final rule.

Rule’s provisions. The new rule establishes 16 CFR part 1225, “Safety Standard for Hand-Held Infant Carriers.” Among the standard’s provisions, some of the more significant requirements address:

  • Carry handle integrity—a series of endurance and durability tests are included to prevent rigid, adjustable handles from breaking or unlocking during use.

  • Carry handle auto-locking—to prevent incidents that have occurred when the rigid, adjustable handles switched positions unexpectedly.

  • Restraints—to minimize the fall hazard associated with inclined hand-held carriers, while also minimizing the potential for injury or death in flat bassinet/cradle products where restraints can pose a strangulation hazard.

  • Slip resistance—to prevent slipping when the hand-held infant carrier is placed on a slightly inclined surface (10 degrees).

  • Marking and labeling—to provide tracking information, as well as hazard warnings.

Incident data. According to reports received by CPSC, 252 incidents involving hand-held infant carriers occurred between January 1, 2007 and June 21, 2013. Of the 252 incidents, there were 43 fatalities, 63 nonfatal injuries, and 146 incidents where no injury occurred or was reported. Agency staff attributed the majority of the fatalities to the improper use or nonuse of the carrier’s restraint system.

The rule will become effective on June 6, 2014.

MainStory: TopStory FinalRules CPSCNewsStory BabyProductsNews

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