Baby Carriers Must Meet Tougher CPSC Standards

In an effort to prevent injurious and fatal falls involving babies, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has made mandatory a previously voluntary set of standards for soft infant safety carriers. mommaandbaby.jpg

These soft carriers typically have waist and shoulder straps, and are worn as a type of sling in which the caregiver carries the child in an upright position in the front.

Between 2007 and mid-2013, the CPSC reported a total of 43 deaths and 66,000 hospital emergency room treated injuries related to these handheld carriers. Just from Sept. 2012 through July 2013, the CPSC received 31 incident reports related to soft baby carriers, with two of those resulting in fatalities and 24 injuries – including three head injuries that occurred when the baby fell from the carrier.

Our injury lawyers in Rock Hill know more than half of these injuries occurred when the child fell from the carrier, while the fatalities were the result of suffocation incidents.

Of the latter two, one was a 4-month-old baby girl who was put to sleep on a bed while still in the carrier. In the other case, a 17-day-old baby was being carried by her mother in the carrier facing her mother while breastfeeding.

In order to prevent the possibility of suffocation, federal regulators will be mandating warning labels to alert parents and caregivers of the possible dangers, which primarily affect infants 4 months and younger.

Most of the falls either involved the caregiver falling while carrying the child or the child somehow falling out of the carrier.

In order to address the falls issue, the CPSC will require that all belts, buckles, seams, stitching and straps be rigorously tested for strength and durability. Fasteners are going to have to be able to withstand 80-pounds of weight. Leg openings have to be designed in such a way that they bar the passage of a 5-pound, 14.75-inch sphere.

Additionally, the carriers are going to have to meet all the same kinds of anti-flammability standards that currently exist for child clothing.

In the first round of hearings held following the rule’s proposal, industry insiders complained that the 80-pound threshold requirement was excessive. However, regulator stood ground on this issue, making a point that less durable fasteners have failed, resulting in serious injury to the child.

Other critics proposed that fasteners which support the head should be exempt from durability testing because older infants can hold up their heads on their own. However, the commission fired back that those fasteners also support the upper torso and shoulders in addition to the head, and therefore are critical.

The new standards are going to apply to all soft baby carriers made or imported in the U.S. on or after Sept. 29, 2014.

The rule also encompasses hand-held bassinets and cradles, like the Moses Basket.

The announcement falls in line with the requirements of the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, which mandates that the CPSC to set tougher federal safety standards for infant and young child products.

Contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
CPSC approves new federal safety standard for soft infant and toddler carriers, April 1, 2014, KidsToday

More Blog Entries:
Protecting Carolina Children from Deadly Everyday Risks, Jan. 12, 2014, Rock Hill Child Injury Lawyer Blog

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