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Ban or Safety Standard Requested for Adult Portable Bed Rails

Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering a consolidated petition asking it to initiate proceedings to either ban or establish a mandatory safety standard for adult portable bed rails. Written comments on this petition are due no later than Aug. 5.

The petitioners assert that adult portable bed rails currently on the market are responsible for many injuries and deaths among users, particularly the elderly and frail. According to the petitioners, the CPSC’s own data show that from January 2003 to September 2012 there were 155 fatalities involving these bed rails and that from January 2003 through December 2011 there were an estimated 36,900 adult portable bed rail-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

One petitioner has asked the CPSC to initiate proceedings that would ban all adult portable bed rails on the grounds that they present an unreasonable risk of injury and that no feasible consumer product safety standard or warnings would adequately protect the public against this hazard. The other petitioner, however, states that if the CPSC does not pursue a ban it should initiate a rulemaking to promulgate mandatory standards (including warning labels) to reduce the unreasonable risk of asphyxiation and the entrapment hazards posed by adult portable bed rails.

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