Safety Standards: What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know
How do we know if children’s products are safe? One way is to see what standards they have been tested to – and by whom. Standards work to provide performance requirements for products – before our children ‘test’ them in our homes. Will the product hold up over time, have hazards such as entrapment, suffocation, or sharp edges been eliminated, and will it work as intended? Some companies test their own products to a voluntary standard, while others are tested by independent third party laboratories to a federal or mandatory standard.
In the past few decades, mandatory federal safety standards have gone into effect for many products that were previously unregulated. Products that are manufactured on or after these standards went into effect meet the strongest, most current safety standards and are safer for children. Below, we’ve listed some children’s products that have federal safety standards, followed by the dates those standards went into effect:
· Cribs – Manufactured on our after June 28, 2011
· Bassinets – Manufactured on or after April 14, 2014
· Play Yards – Manufactured on or after February 28, 2013
· Bath Seats – Manufactured on or after March 24, 2014
· Infant Walkers – Manufactured on or after December 6, 2010
· Strollers – Manufactured on or after September 10, 2015
· Portable Bed Rails – Manufactured on or after December 29, 2012
· Infant Swings – Manufactured on or after May 7, 2013
· Infant Carrier Slings – Mandatory federal standard will go into effect in 2018
· Furniture – There is currently no mandatory federal safety standard designed to address tip-over hazards for furniture. In the meantime, choose dressers or chests that meet ASTM F2057 – 14, a voluntary furniture standard.
· Toys – A new federal toy standard, ASTM F963-16, went into effect on April 30, 2017. This standard replaced ASTM F963-11, which had been in place since 2011.
So now you have a list of dates – but how should you use this information when you’re out shopping, or checking the products you already own? The key is to look for the manufacture date, not the date of sale. For example, if you simply purchased a stroller after September 10, 2015, it may not meet the new federal standard. Check to make sure the products you buy or products you currently own meet these current safety standards.
Although these standards have improved the safety of many children’s products, there are other products that aren’t covered by safety standards. Some durable products, such as crib alternatives, aren’t covered by any safety standards. It’s better to stick with products that meet a standard – especially for sleeping.
Take steps to keep the kids in your life safe by choosing products that meet current standards, registering all infant and toddler products, and staying up-to-date with recalls by checking cpsc.gov. You can also report a problem with a product at SaferProducts.gov.