The danger behind frame child carriers has now been addressed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with the approval of a new mandatory safety standard in a unanimous vote to ensure the protection of children nationwide.
The frame child carrier is designed to carry a child on the back of the caregiver in a sewn fabric construction with a metal (or other material) frame. The child, who sits upright in the frame unassisted, must be between 16 and 50 pounds for the equipment to be used properly. The carrier resembles hiking/mountaineering equipment and is often used for transporting children for that purpose.
The new safety standard, which incorporates the previous standard by ASTM International, will become effective approximately 18 months following its publication in the Federal Register. All frame child carriers manufactured or imported on or after the aforementioned date will be subject to the new federal safety standard.
In order to address frequently reported hazards related to frame child carriers, the new federal safety standard will address the following:
- Sharp points;
- Small parts;
- Lead in paint;
- Flammability requirements;
- Scissoring, shearing, pinching;
- Exposed coil springs;
- Locking and latching (for carriers that fold for storage);
- Unintentional folding (for carriers with kick stands that can stand freely);
- Protective components;
- Structural integrity;
- Leg openings (to help prevent smaller occupants from falling out of the carrier through a single leg opening);
- Dynamic strength (tests the frame, fasteners, and seams/stitching under dynamic conditions to help prevent breakage or separation);
- Static load (ensures the carrier can hold three times the maximum recommended weight);
- Stability (for carriers that can stand freely);
- Restraints (requires that all carriers have a restraint system and also provides a method for testing the restraints);
- Handle integrity (helps prevent the handle from breaking or separating when it is pulled with three times the maximum recommended weight).
From Jan. 1, 2003 until Sept. 4, 2014, CPSC received about 50 reports of problems associated with frame child carriers, 34 of which resulted in injuries to either the caregiver or child.
For more information on the new safety standard, visit the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov.