New Mandatory Safety Standard Approved for Infant Sling Carriers
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently voted to approve a new federal mandatory safety standard for infant sling carriers. This standard will become effective one year after a final rule is published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur in the near future.
Infant sling carriers are worn by the parent or caregiver and are designed to carry an infant/toddler in an upright or reclined position. Slings generally are intended for infants and toddlers between 8 and 35 pounds. Designs typically range from unstructured hammock-shaped products that suspend from the caregiver’s body to long lengths of material or fabric that wrap around the caregiver’s body.
The new standard incorporates the most recent voluntary standard developed by ASTM International (ASTM F2907-15) with one modification to make warning labels more permanent by preventing them from being attached to the carrier along only one side of the label.
Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle said she voted against the standard (which was approved by a 3-2 vote) because “it is likely to ruin dozens if not hundreds of law-abiding small businesses without preventing any deaths or significant injuries.” CPSC staff concluded that the standard would have a significant adverse impact on a substantial number of small businesses, she said, one of “only a very few times in the CPSC’s entire history” such an affirmative determination has been made. Buerkle explained that once the standard becomes effective all slings will have to be certified based on third-party testing, even those produced by “the smallest sling makers” because Congress did not allow a “small batch” exemption for this type of safety standard. She added that these costs are unjustified given that CPSC staff was unable to devise performance or testing requirements that would address the primary hazard associated with these carriers.