Manufacturers of baby high chairs will now have to conform to a revised set of standards for their design. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently issued a new federal standard aimed at enhancing the safety of all high chairs. The standards cover high chairs designed for home use as well as restaurant use.
In putting together the new CPSC standards, the Commission analyzed the existing voluntary high chair recommendations provided by ASTM International – specifically, ASTM F404-18, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for High Chairs. The CPSC Incorporated and amended these recommendations and issued them as a group of mandatory standards to take effect in mid-2019.
Reasons for changes in the high chair standards
The CPSC received 1,842 high chair incident reports between January 2011 and September 2017. These reports included 271 injuries and two fatalities. The majority of the incidents reported involve children ages 7 to 18 months. As well, in the U.S., approximately 18,500 high chair related injuries occurred in hospital emergency departments from 2015 and through 2016 – this according to CPSC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).
The CPSC’s evaluation of high chair related accident statistics reveal that most of these accidents were caused by falls when:
- Parts of the high chair (such as the lock, tray, or restraint) did not function properly
- The chair tipped over when the child rocked or pushed back in the chair
- The child attempted to climb in or out of the chair
The updated standards are intended to reduce the number of these accidents and associated injuries associated with high chairs.
What the new federal standards require
The effective implementation date of the new mandatory standard for high chairs is 12 months subsequent to the publishing of the final rule in the Federal Register. The standard applies to products that are imported or manufactured on or after that date.
The requirements mentioned in the voluntary standard include adding warning labels and improving rearward stability. As well, they include the implementation of a three-point restraint system as well as a passive crotch. In other words, newly sold high chairs will need to have a fixed post located between the legs of the child as well as three separate restraints connected to the high chair. Other features must also be incorporated to decrease the possibility of the high chair tipping backwards. Warning labels must now be clearer than before regarding the potential for the high chair to tip over. Any new high chair that fails to meet these standards and causes an injury to a child may lead to a future product liability lawsuit.
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