April 23, 2011 9:43 am
By John Voket, RISMedia Columnist
RISMEDIA, April 23, 2011-Even though National Consumer Protection Week (March 6-12) is over, Americans should be aware of a new update regarding crib safety rules that can be seen as a step forward in protecting infants and toddlers.
Our friends at the U.S. PIRG, a federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) that advocate for consumers in areas including product safety, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced the establishment of the strongest crib safety standards in the world.
Following recent years of recalls of millions of cribs due to entrapment deaths and injuries, the new standards become mandatory in June, 2011. They will ensure new cribs have been tested for safety to rigorous standards.
The Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Kids in Danger and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group all hailed the update as a major step forward in protecting infants and toddlers.
The new rule puts many new tests and requirements in place:
-Cribs with full side drop-sides will not be allowed-the bottom 20" of the crib rail must be fixed to eliminate the entrapment hazards seen when the hardware fails.
-All cribs must undergo rigorous testing for slat strength, durability and mattress support strength. The series of testing is conducted on one crib to simulate a life-time use of a crib. This is the key to the new standard. Most of the 10 million cribs recalled since 2007 were able to meet the weak industry standards that were in place.
-Warnings and labeling have been improved, both to make parents more aware of when a crib is mis-assembled and to alert them to developmental signs to stop using a crib (when the child attempts to climb out). While most attention has been rightly focused on entrapment deaths in cribs, most injuries are a result of children falling out of cribs.
For the first time, this mandatory rule applies to products already in use by some entities as well as to new products. Efforts will begin immediately to remove older unsafe products off store shelves, out of child care homes and out of hotels. This does not apply, however, to already purchased cribs being used in private homes, except for barring their resale.
For more information, visit www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs.
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