There are no products more important to parents than the products they buy for their children. For infants especially, bassinets and cradles must provide a safe sleeping environment to ensure that a child does not experience injury or fall victim to a fatal accident because of an unsafe product

Our Florida product liability lawyers know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission sets standards for bassinets and cradles to protect children by ensuring these products meet minimum safety standards. In late September, the CPSC approved new federal safety standards designed to clarify existing rules and add new requirements.

New Standards on Bassinets and Cradles

The CPSC has likely been prompted to act after receiving notice of 426 incidents involving bassinets and cradles. A total of 132 of the incidents between November 2007 and March 2013 resulted in the death of the infant.

The new standard defines “bassinet/cradle” as a small bed that is primarily designed to provide sleeping space for infants. The bassinet is supported by free-standing legs on a base that may rock or may be on wheels (it can also be stationary). The sleep surface on a stationary bassinet should have a surface that is close to 10 degrees from horizontal. Bassinets are intended for use only until an infant reaches the age of five months or until the child can push up on his hands and knees.

The new standards also incorporate provisions that were found in the voluntary standards (ASTM F2194-13), but with some modifications. The provisions relate to:

  • The flatness of the mattress (A pass/fail criteria is used to determine if the mattress is sufficiently flat in the cradle). Bassinets less than 15 inches across have been made exempt from the flatness requirement.
  • A bassinet bed stability requirement. A removable one must be added to all bassinets.
  • The stability test procedure. A newborn CAMI doll must now be used to test the stability of the bassinet, rather than an infant CAMI doll.

These new standards will go into effect six months from the date that CPSC publishes the final rule in the Federal Register. From the time the standards are put into effect, manufacturers have an additional 12 months to comply with provisions related to removable bassinet beds.

Parents should be sure to purchase new bassinets that comply with advanced safety standards. Because there are continually new developments in the regulations designed to ensure children’s products are safe, it is generally not advisable for parents to buy used baby items such as bassinets, cribs, playpens, high chairs or other items that could cause injury to a child if not properly designed or maintained.

Buying used products also makes it more difficult for parents to be alerted to any product recalls that may occur if companies violate safety standards in a way that endangers the infant who is using the item.

The Ferraro Law Firm handles injury and wrongful death claims resulting from defective children’s products. Call (888) 554-2030​ for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami and Washington, D.C.

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Inquiry Launched Into Elderly Bed Rail Deaths, Jan. 17, 2013, Product Liability Lawyers’ Blog