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ASTM Play Yards Specification Forms Basis of New Federal Mandatory Safety Standard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved a new federal mandatory safety standard for play yards that incorporates provisions of ASTM International standard F406, Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs/Play Yards. The effective date for the mandatory play yard standard is six months after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

ASTM Consumer Safety Specification F406 was developed by Subcommittee F15.18 on Cribs, Toddler Beds, Play Yards, Bassinets, Cradles and Changing Tables, part of ASTM International F15 on Consumer Products. According to the CPSC, there were more than 2,100 incidents reported involving play yards between November 2007 and December 2011, including 60 fatalities and 170 injuries.

Mandatory requirements for play yards, as outlined in F406, include:

  • A stability test to prevent the play yard from tipping over.
  • Latch and lock mechanisms to keep the play yard from folding on a child when it is being used.
  • Entrapment tests for attachments so a child’s head does not get trapped while a bassinet or other accessory is attached.
  • Floor strength tests to ensure structural integrity and to prevent children from getting trapped by the play yard floor.
  • Minimum side height requirements to prevent children from getting out of the play yard on their own.
  • A test to prevent play yards whose top rails fold downward from using a hinge that creates a V- or diamond-shape when folded, helping to prevent head and neck entrapments.

Section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires CPSC to issue safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, including play yards. In addition to play yards, CPSC has issued mandatory safety standards for cribs, children’s bed rails, baby bath seats, baby walkers and toddler beds.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.