Update Planned for Baby Backpack Safety Rules
(CN) - The Consumer Product Safety Commission proposed new safety standards for baby backpacks, Friday.
The product is called a "frame child carrier" which is a backpack with an attached harness that allows an adult to carry the child on his or her back.
In the last decade, there were 33 reported injuries related to the backpacks, but no fatalities, and between 2003 and 2013, there were two relatively small recalls of the products, according to the commission.
"A majority of the injuries resulted from falls from the frame child carrier," the commission wrote.
"Many of the falls occurred when children slipped out of the frame child carrier through leg openings; in other scenarios, children fell out when carriers, placed on elevated surfaces, toppled over, or when caregivers fell when carrying the infant in the carrier."
Twenty-nine of the reported incidents were related to the backpacks themselves, and the commission noted problems with loose screws, frames breaking and detachment of cloth in some situations.
The commission found that a change to the standard involving restraint hazards is needed because the current test does not have an "explicit pass/fail criteria."
"Without this change to the standard, a frame child carrier that is undergoing testing could fail the intended criteria but still be deemed to comply with the standard. Thus, correcting the standard prevents this from happening and, in effect, makes the standard more stringent," the commission wrote.
Because there have not been any incidents involving structural integrity for backpacks made after 2006, the commission found that its current testing standards are adequate.
In the past few years, there have been several reported problems involving the leg holes of the backpacks.
"In those cases, the carrier's leg holes were large enough to allow the child to slip out or almost slip out of the carrier," the commission wrote. "In a few of these incidents, the consumer also expressed concern about the potential risk of strangulation if the child slipped out through the opening."
The commission will not change that testing standard, but noted it "will continue to monitor incidents" related to leg holes in the carriers.
The regulations would implement safety standards for "durable infant or toddler" products mandated by the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The law is named for a Chicago toddler who was killed when his portable crib collapsed. The crib, made by Playskool, was responsible for other deaths of small children, and had previously been recalled.
"Danny's name reminds us how precious human life is, and how dedicated we must be to safeguard it to the greatest extent possible," CPSC Commissioner Robert Adler said at a public briefing meeting in April.
Comments on the proposed rule are due by July 30.