New Federal Standard for Infant Bouncers

The new federal standard, voted in on September 1, 2017, is based on the existing voluntary standard, ASTM  F2167-17. The ASTM standard, referenced to be incorporated into the new federal standard by Acting Chairman Buerkle and Commissioner Mohorovic, improved the requirements for stability to address tip-over incidents and for the battery compartment to address incidents involving battery leakage, corrosion, and overheating.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a new federal mandatory standard to improve the safety of infant bouncer seats and prevent deaths and injuries to babies.

Infant bouncer seats support babies in a reclined position and allow them to bounce. This durable infant product is intended for infants up to 6 months old who have not developed the ability to sit up unassisted.

The Commission’s more stringent requirements are intended to further reduce the risk of serious head injuries associated with falls from elevated surfaces, such as tables and counter tops. The mandatory standard will make fall hazard warnings more visible to caregivers, by requiring the label to be placed on the front of the bouncer seat near the baby’s head and shoulders. Caregivers are also instructed to use restraints even if a baby falls asleep in the bouncer, which is a likely occurrence.

Between January 1, 2006 and July 6, 2016, there were 347 incidents involving bouncer seats reported to CPSC, including 12 fatalities and 54 injuries. The major cause of reported fatalities was suffocation resulting from unrestrained babies turning over in a bouncer or bouncers tipping over on soft surfaces (e.g., mattresses and comforters) when bouncer is placed on adult beds and cribs.

Additionally, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System demonstrates 874 incidents involving bouncer seats from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2015. The hazard patterns related to these incidents (485 of the 874) were mainly due to infants falling while in bouncers or from a bouncer placed in hazardous locations, such as kitchen countertops, tables and other elevated surfaces. Falls resulted in concussions and skull fracture to babies. These types of injuries can lead to brain damage and long-lasting health effects.

CPSC recommends the following tips to parents and caregivers when using an infant bouncer seat:

•Always use the bouncer on the floor, never on a countertop, table or other elevated surface.

•Never place the bouncer on a bed, sofa, or other soft surface because babies have suffocated when bouncers tipped over onto soft surfaces.

•Always use restraints and adjust restraints to fit snugly, even if baby falls asleep.

•Stay near and watch the baby during use.

•Stop using the bouncer when a child is able to sit up on his/her own or the baby reaches 20 lbs. or the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight.

The Commission is required by The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, Section 104(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), to issue consumer product safety standards for durable infant and toddler products.

In the past seven years, the Commission has approved new federal safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, including full-size cribs, non-full-size 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 slings.

The CPSC has proposed that the rule become effective 6 months after the publication of a final rule in the Federal Register.

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