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From Products Liability Law Daily, May 20, 2013

CPSC Publishes Proposed Standard for Strollers and Carriages

By Joseph Bichl

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today published a proposed safety standard for strollers and carriages following a unanimous vote of approval by the Commission on May 10 (NHTSA Notice, 78 FR 29279, May 20, 2013). For the purposes of the standard, the agency defined strollers as wheeled vehicles used to transport children from infancy to 36 months of age in a sitting-down position. By contrast, carriages are wheeled vehicles used to transport an infant in a lying-down position.

After consulting with manufacturers, retailers, trade organizations, testing laboratories, and consumer advocacy groups, CPSC created a standard based largely on the ASTM International voluntary standard: ‘‘Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Carriages and Strollers (ASTM F833–13). The voluntary standard covers carriages and strollers, as well as convertible carriages and strollers. In addition, the agency proposed to add a test method to address scissoring, pinching, or shearing hazards at the hinge link of 2D fold strollers. 2D strollers are those that fold in two dimensions by height and length. Strollers that collapse in all three dimensions—height, length, and width—resulting in a smaller folded package than 2D strollers are called 3D strollers.

Standard requirements. Like the voluntary standard, the agency’s standard would require performance tests to verify the strength with which wheels are attached to the stroller and to address weak parking brakes. The standard would require that safety buckles restraining the child either have a single-action release mechanism that does not release at a force less than 9 pounds or have a double-action release mechanism. Among other things, the standard would contain performance requirements that address structural integrity, tipping, car seat attachments, and handlebar stability.

In addition to the voluntary standard requirements that the agency applied to its own standard, CPSC proposed more stringent requirements in an effort to reduce scissoring and pinching. According to agency reports, hinge issues were involved in 75 incidents, resulting in 72 injuries, the highest injury rate of any stroller hazard category. Most of the hinge-related injuries resulted from scissoring, pinching, or shearing at the hinge link of 2D and 3D strollers, which typically occurred when a caregiver was unfolding the stroller for use and the child was climbing into the stroller. The agency proposed a test that would address the hazard during the unfolding action so that the stroller’s frame-folding action did not create a scissoring, shearing, or pinching hazard. The proposed new test is dynamic and would also determine if the hazard existed with the same two probes while the stroller was moved from a partially to the fully erect and locked position. The agency maintained that this testing procedure would significantly reduce the risk of injury associated with the frame-folding action.

Incident data. According to CPSC, there were 1,207 incidents related to strollers reported from 2008 through 2012. The age range included children 4 years old or younger. CPSC found that of the incidents, four resulted in death and 1,203 were nonfatal. Some of the injuries included finger amputations, falls, and head entrapment.

The comment closing date is August 5, 2013.

MainStory: TopStory ChildrensProductsNews

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