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Mandatory Safety Standard for Booster Seats under Consideration

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is accepting comments through 2 August on its proposal to issue a mandatory safety standard for booster seats. The proposed standard would incorporate by reference ASTM F2640-17, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Booster Seats, without modification. If this standard is finalised it will also be a children's product safety rule that requires the issuance of a notice of requirements to explain how laboratories can become accredited as third-party conformity assessment bodies to test products to the new standard. The CPSC is proposing an effective date of 12 months after publication of a final rule in the Federal Register to allow booster seat manufacturers sufficient time to bring their products into compliance with ASTM F2640-17 and arrange for third-party testing.

As defined by ASTM F2640-17, a booster seat is a juvenile chair placed on an adult chair to elevate a child to standard dining table height. It is made for the purpose of containing a child, up to five years of age, and normally for the purposes of feeding or eating. A booster seat may be height adjustable and include a reclined position. Booster seats may be constructed from a wide variety of materials, including wood, plastic, fabric, metal and/or foam. Most booster seats, notably those intended for home use, have removable trays, allowing a table to be used as an alternative eating surface. Some booster seats are intended to double as floor seats for toddlers, and others are high chair/booster seat combination products. The standard does not cover car booster seats.

Section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires the CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for a range of durable infant or toddler products. These standards must be substantially the same as applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standard if the Commission determines that more stringent requirements would further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product. As of late May 2017, the CPSC had issued standards for bassinets and cradles, bath seats, infant bath tubs, bed rails (portable), bedside sleepers, full-size cribs, non-full-size cribs, infant swings, infant walkers, play yards, strollers and carriages, toddler beds, hand-held infant carriers, frame child carriers, portable hook-on chairs, soft infant and toddler carriers, and infant sling carriers. As of that date standards had not yet been adopted for infant bouncer seats, baby changing products, children’s folding chairs, stationary activity centres, gates and other enclosures for confining a child, high chairs and booster seats, although the Commission had issued proposed standards for some of these products (i.e., booster seats, infant bouncer seats, high chairs, baby changing products, and children’s folding chairs and stools). A proposal to adopt mandatory standards for infant inclined sleep products is also currently under consideration.

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