Last week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 4-0 to adopt new safety standards for portable bed rails to keep children five years and under from falling or rolling out of bed. Typically, portable bed rails are used on the sides of an adult bed to prevent a child (or an elderly or infirm person) from rolling out of bed.
Because there were problems related to portable bed rails, including consumer assembly and installation difficulties that resulted in child deaths, the CPSC and ASTM, a standards development organization, formulated new mandatory safety requirements, which incorporate ASTM’s bed rail standard F2085-12.
According to the CPSC announcement, the new mandatory federal standards, in accordance with Section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, require that:
- “Portable bed rails must not create a dangerous gap with the mattress into which a child can fall;
- They must be tested to make sure the bed rail hardware is permanently attached, and that the components cannot be assembled in an unsafe manner;
- Bed rails must have improved warnings on labels and instructions;
- Installation components, such as anchor or straps, must be permanently attached to the bed rail, and must have a warning label on them; and
- Bed rails must not have hazardous sharp edges, points or small parts.”
In addition, parents and caregivers are urged to note that portable bed rails should never be used with children younger than two years old. Portable bed rails are specifically intended for use with children ages 2 to 5 years old who can get out of an adult bed without help. Parents should also note that gaps in and around bed rails have previously entrapped young children and killed infants–so bed rails should always be used with caution.
This new standard will go into effect six months following its publication in the Federal Register.