By Laura M. Nikolovska, Program Director- Kids in Danger
As recently as 2008, there were no requirements that manufacturers of baby products test for safety before they were sold. Even now, there are not rigorous mandatory standards in place for all nursery products.
When KID was started in 1998, there were few mandatory safety standards for children’s products in America. This is something that usually surprises grandparents, but KID has been hard at work for the past 15 years to change this. As a result of our work, 9 children’s products now have strong mandatory federal safety standards. Below is a list of the baby products that have federal safety standards:
- Bath Seats – Manufactured on or after December 6, 2010
- Infant Walkers – Manufactured on or after December 21, 2010
- Full-Size, Non-Full-Size Cribs– Manufactured on or after June 28, 2011
- Bed Rails (Portable)– Manufactured on or after December 29, 2012
- Play Yards – Manufactured on or after February 28, 2013
- Infant Swings– Manufactured on or after May 7, 2013
- Bassinets – Manufactured on or after April 14, 2014
- Bassinets and Cradles– Mandatory federal standard will go into effect on April 23, 2014 with the standard for removable bassinet beds going into effect on April 23, 2015.
- Strollers– Mandatory federal standard will go into effect in September 2015. In the meantime, make sure the stroller purchase meets ASTM F15-833-13b voluntary standard and avoid strollers with adjustable grab bars.
The key takeaway here is to look for the manufacture date on baby products, not the date of sale of a product. For example, grandparents may purchase a play yard after February 28, 2013 but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it meets the new federal standard. Instead, caregivers need to confirm the date the baby product was manufactured. If that play yard was manufactured after February 28, 2013, then it meets the new federal standard.
Clearly, great progress has been made as many children’s products now have mandatory standards. But KID advises you to watch out for products that don’t have to meet any mandatory safety standards including:
- Crib alternatives, such as the Nap Nanny and Peapod travel tent. Remember, the safest place for a baby to sleep is a crib that hasn’t been recalled and meets the federal standards.
- Infant seats, including the Bumbo seat. KID recommends that you use a bouncer seat or a swing instead as these products have standards they need to meet.
- Accessories not sold with the product, but as aftermarket items such as seat covers, extra mattresses, attachable toys, crib tents, etc. Products added may change how a product works and cause safety problems; most don’t have standards (except toys).