As part of its mandate to issue consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products under The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) recently approved a new federal standard to improve the safety of infant bath tubs and prevent drownings.
The federal standard incorporates the most recent voluntary standard developed by ASTM International (ASTM F2670-17 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Bath Tubs). The ASTM specification addresses performance requirements, test methods, and labeling requirements, including a restraint system, static loading, suction cups, locking mechanisms, protective components, and label and warning permanence. The warnings address, among other things, drowning and fall hazards.
The CPSC’s announcement notes that, between January 2004 and December 2015, the agency received a total of 247 reports of incidents involving infant tubs—31 of which were fatal. The most frequent hazards involved drowning/near-drowning because the child was left alone in the tub; protrusions/sharp edges or points/lacerations; product failures; entrapment issues; slippery tub surfaces; and mold/allergy issues.
The new mandatory infant bath tub standard becomes effective on October 2, 2017 (six months after the final rule was published in the Federal Register). “Infant bath tub” is broadly defined and applies to any ‘‘tub, enclosure, or other similar product intended to hold water and be placed into an adult bath tub, sink, or on top of other surfaces to provide support or containment, or both, for an infant in a reclining, sitting, or standing position during bathing by a caregiver.’’ This covers a wide variety of products, including bucket-style tubs, inflatable tubs, foldable tubs, and bath tubs with spa features, such as “whirlpool” settings, “separate whirlpool” settings, and separate handheld showers.
The new standard will reach a significant number of product manufacturers and apply to millions of bathtubs. According to the final rule, at least 25 manufacturers and importers supply infant bath tubs to the U.S. market, including 22 domestic firms. And, according to CPSC data, households with children under 6 years old own approximately 8.9 million infant bath tubs.
In addition to bath tubs, the CPSC notes that in the last 7 years alone, it has approved new federal safety standards for cribs, play yards, baby walkers, baby bath seats, children’s portable bed rails, strollers, toddler beds, infant swings, handheld infant carriers, soft infant carriers, framed infant carriers, bassinets, cradles, portable hook-on chairs and infant sling carriers.