Hotels, Motels and Child Care Facilities Must Comply with New Safety Requirements for Cribs

New federal safety standards for cribs, play yards, bassinets and cradles show a laudable concern for infant safety and the danger well-meaning but unsuspecting parents place their children in. Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs made and sold after that date must meet new standards which prohibit traditional drop-side cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware, and require more rigorous testing from entering the marketplace.

Beginning December 28, 2012, cribs provided by child care facilities, family child care homes, hotels, motels and other places of public accommodation must meet the requirements of the new standards. A failure to do so could render the facility negligent per se.

Effective this month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards for play yards were strengthened (new crib standards do not apply to play yards).

The CPSC is also presently proposing a safety standard for bassinets and cradles in response to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) which requires the CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. The proposed rule would create a new part 1218 titled, “Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles.” The proposal would establish ASTM F2194-12, “Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Bassinets and Cradles,” as a consumer product safety standard, but with certain changes to try to reduce the risks posed by the hazards set forth below..

The CPSC’s Directorate for Epidemiology reports that there have been 335 incidents reported to the Commission regarding bassinets/cradles from November 2007 through December 2011. The 335 incidents involved 94 fatalities and 241 nonfatal incidents.

Most of the deaths were due to entrapment and/or hanging that resulted after an infant’s body, but not head, slipped through the fabric covering and underlying structural components, to the flatness of the mattress pads, to structural integrity, and to mobiles, whose components overheated, smoked, or sparked. Some products were recalled.

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