New Safety Rules for Portable Mesh Cribs and Playpens
Considering that sixty children have died and 170 have been injured in playpens—also known as play yards—between November of 2007 and December of 2011, tough new safety rules issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission should come as no surprise to consumers and manufacturers alike. Up until this point voluntary safety standards were in place, however the new ruling makes these standards mandatory.
Not only will a minimum height requirement for the sides of playpens be implemented, the CPSC will also require locking mechanisms to prevent the playpen from collapsing on the child inside. Straps hanging from the playpens were responsible for strangling some children, while others died when the playpen collapsed or the mattress pad worked its way on top of the child inside. The new rules take place this December, 2012.
Playpens and play yards are used extensively by parents and daycare centers for babies and toddlers—ostensibly to keep them safe. CPSC Chairman, Inez Tenenbaum notes that “Play yards and other products used to put babies and toddlers down to sleep really should be the safest products in the home.” Playpens and play yards have labored under multiple recalls over the past two decades involving literally millions of units. This new ruling was a piece of what is a sweeping reform regarding the safety of children’s products. This reform has been dubbed “Danny’s Law,” for toddler Danny Keysar who was killed fourteen years ago after a play yard at his daycare center collapsed, strangling him. Although the play yard that killed Danny had been recalled, none of the workers at the daycare center were aware of that recall. Danny’s mother calls herself an “accidental advocate,” stating she and her husband simply “couldn’t accept the status quo,” following their young son’s death.
While safety standards have already been put into place for infant cribs, toddler beds, rails on children’s beds, baby walkers and baby bath seats, additional rules for bassinets, cradles, strollers and infant carriers are in the works. Unfortunately, the very nature of baby products deems that they are often passed down from one generation to another or sold at consignment stores and garage sales. This means that scores of older products are still in use despite recalls. Most manufacturers have taken necessary safety measures and altered their designs to reflect those measures; however, the older products present a serious health threat to children.
Just last month, many top retailers agreed to recall and halt the sales of Tots in Mind play yard tents following at least twenty-seven known failures, one death and one serious injury. Kids in Danger, a leading children’s product safety group, has been quite vocal in pushing for changes in how the playpen sides are attached, demanding they be changed to permanent attachments to prevent such collapses rather than the clips which now hold the playpen sides in place. Executive Director of Kids in Danger, Nancy Cowles noted that “last minute maneuvering” forced a prior delay on the fix. The details of the new safety rules contain, in part, the following:
- Stability tests to measure the playpens' likelihood of tipping over.
- Lock and latch mechanisms to ensure the play pens and play yards do not fold in on the child inside.
- Entrapment tests to ensure a child’s head cannot be trapped.
- Floor tests which measure the overall structural integrity of the playpens and play yards.
- Minimum side height requirements to ensure children cannot climb out.
These tougher new safety standards will go a long way in making sure infants and toddlers are fully protected when placed inside a playpen or play yard.
Know your legal rights! If your child has been injured due to safety issues affecting portable mesh cribs, playpens or any other product, call the products liability attorneys at Montlick and Associates. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation because there is absolutely no obligation for us to evaluate your personal injury claim. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.