Consumer product regulator, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just voted to enact new standards for portable cribs and play pens.
The tough new safety rules are meant to protect babies and toddlers, said USA Today, noting that more than 60 children were killed and 170 injured in play yards from November 2007 through December 2011, citing Commission data. Many of these children perished in play yards that had collapsed, had died under mattress pads, or were strangled by the play yards’ hanging straps.
“Play yards and other products used to put babies and toddlers down to sleep really should be the safest products in the home,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Although the play yards are covered by a voluntary safety standard, the new rule makes the standard mandatory and increases testing for both durability and stability, puts in place a minimum side height requirement, and mandates locking mechanisms to prevent the cribs and play pens from collapsing on the very children they are meant to protect, said USA Today. The rules will be put in place this December.
Tenenbaum said that, although the new rule is critical to preventing toddler and infant injuries and deaths, she points to the number of recalls and the massive amount of defective products involved, saying that the rule is also important because “there have been more than 20 recalls of play yards over the past 25 years involving millions of units,” wrote USA Today.
Just last month, Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, Burlington Coat Factory, Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart all agreed to recall and cease sales of Tots in Mind play yard tents following 27 tent failures that involved one death and a serious injury between January 1997 and April 2012, said USA today.
Earlier this year, we wrote that Tots in Mind recalled its Play Yard Tents in July 2010, offering a repair kit that is no longer available; Tots in Mind is no longer in business and has stopped all sales. In 2008, a two-year-old boy died after becoming entrapped between the bottom and top rail of a Tots in Mind Play Yard Tent. The boy’s death was reported in the prior recall notice. In 2007, another two-year-old boy sustained a catastrophic brain injury when the Tots in Mind Crib Tent affixed to his crib inverted and the product’s broken rod trapped him at the neck.
Kids In Danger, a children’s product safety group, urged for a change in the way in which bassinets are attached to play yards, which would have required the key parts of a bassinet to be permanently attached, said USA Today. Kids In Danger Executive Director Nancy Cowles told USA Today that a Chicago baby was killed a year ago when she slid into the corner of a bassinet that was assembled incorrectly, suffocating when a clip holding the bassinet was released. According to Cowles, “last-minute maneuvering” by industry advocate, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, forced the Commission into delaying the move that would have mandated the fixed.
The play yard rule was part of the broader children’s product safety measure entitled Danny’s Law, after Danny Keysar, who died in 1998 after becoming trapped in a previously-recalled play yard at his child care center, said USA Today. The law required mandatory federal standards for more than a dozen children’s products. Safety standards have been put in place for cribs, toddler beds, bed rails, baby walkers, and baby bath seats and the CPSC is drafting new rules for bassinets and cradles, strollers, and infant carriers, said USA Today.
Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar, Danny’s parents, are the founders of Kids In Danger. “I’m an accidental advocate,” Ginzel, who was in attendance at the Capitol Hill press conference announcing the rule, told USA Today. “We just knew we couldn’t accept the status quo.”