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New Mandatory Safety Standard Adopted for Children’s Folding Chairs and Stools

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a final rule that will, effective 15 June, establish a new mandatory safety standard for children’s folding chairs and stools. This standard is a children's product safety rule that will require the issuance of a notice of requirements to explain how laboratories can become accredited as third-party conformity assessment bodies to test these items to the new standard, which includes requirements regarding latching and locking mechanisms or adequate hinge-line clearance, rearwards and sideways stability testing, and warning labels.

The new mandatory standard incorporates voluntary standard ASTM F2613-17a without modification. This standard describes a children’s folding chair or stool as seating furniture with a seat height of 15 inches or less with a rigid frame that (i) is intended to be used as a support for the body, limbs or feet of a child when sitting or resting in an upright or reclining position, (iv) can be folded for transport or storage, and (iii) may include a rocking base. The product is intended to be used by a single child who can get out of the chair unassisted. ASTM F26132–17a also includes a definition for “chairs with side containment” to describe “a children’s chair or folding chair with armrests or otherwise designed in a shape which provides barriers in the vertical direction above the seating surface to the occupant’s left and right which can act like arms or other side structures.”

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 December 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, infant sling carriers, infant bouncer seats, and children’s folding chairs and stools. As of that date standards had not yet been adopted for baby changing products, 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, high chairs and baby changing products). A proposal to adopt mandatory standards for infant inclined sleep products is also currently under consideration.

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