New mandatory regulations aim to reduce injuries and fatalities associated with adult portable bed rails and ensure industry compliance
Washington, D.C. – In a proactive move to safeguard older adults and other vulnerable consumers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has implemented a new federal mandatory safety standard for adult portable bed rails (APBRs). The commission’s decision follows the identification of 284 entrapment deaths related to these products between January 2003 and December 2021.
As an independent federal agency established by Congress in 1973, the CPSC is entrusted with protecting the American public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death across a wide range of consumer products. The agency’s jurisdiction encompasses over 15,000 types of products, and individuals can report dangerous products or product-related injuries via the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772 or through their website at https://www.saferproducts.gov.
The newly adopted mandatory safety standard aims to address the entrapment risk and mitigate deaths and injuries resulting from falls and other hazards associated with adult portable bed rails. The regulation establishes a performance requirement and test procedure to minimize the risk of entrapment and other potential dangers when using these devices. Starting from the effective date, all APBRs sold in the United States and manufactured thereafter must comply with the performance and testing requirements outlined in the standard.
To ensure comprehensive guidelines, the standard incorporates the voluntary ASTM International (ASTM) F3186-17, Standard Specification for Adult Portable Bed Rails and Related Products, with certain modifications. These modifications serve to enhance safety and provide better clarity, including the following key updates:
- Introduction of new definitions to ensure consistency throughout the rule.
- Enhanced requirements for manufacturers to inform consumers about the appropriate range of mattress thicknesses for safe use of the product. Additionally, the modifications offer testers guidance in selecting the correct mattress thickness during the test setup.
- Updates to entrapment testing requirements, aligning them with known hazards and improving overall safety.
Prior testing conducted by the CPSC in 2018-2019, and again in 2021, revealed a lack of substantial industry compliance with the voluntary ASTM standard. As a result, the CPSC issued five public warnings regarding non-compliant adult portable bed rails and oversaw several recalls. The Commission’s unanimous vote of 4 to 0 underscores the urgency and importance of implementing the new safety standard.
The final rule will come into effect thirty days after its publication in the Federal Register, which is anticipated to occur in August 2023. By introducing these regulations, the CPSC aims to protect consumers and promote industry-wide compliance, ensuring that adults and vulnerable individuals can sleep safely and securely.
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