The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed new safety rules for infant rockers, citing 11 deaths, 88 injuries and 1,088 incidents between 2011 and 2022, primarily during infants' sleep.
The proposed safety guidelines sent to CPSC commissioners aim to ensure infant rockers are firmer and flatter to prevent suffocation, pass stability tests, prevent strangulation from hanging straps, and feature prominent warning labels to discourage their use for sleeping and warn against adding soft bedding.
According to the CPSC, while the commissioners are scheduled to meet Oct. 4 to decide whether to adopt the recommendations, the proposed rule would apply to all infant rockers and infant and toddler rockers, including "multi-mode products with a rocker mode, with the addition of weight limits for each product and terminology to define "rocking."
Among the 11 deaths reported, nine happened while infants were placed in the products for sleeping or napping, and six of the incidents involved the presence of soft bedding or pillows near or on the babies, which can pose suffocation risks.
But the blame is not solely on the rockers, as the CPSC says six infants were not strapped into the rockers and were later found in a facedown position, with one incident in which a 3-month-old girl was placed in a broken rocker that was being supported with a shoe box.
Currently, the standard requirements for an infant bouncer or rocker seat are quite limited. They primarily focus on ensuring the child's strap security, stability, slip resistance, successful completion of a drop test, the presence of a secure toy bar system, and functional batteries. However, these standards do not include warnings about possible injury or death.
The CPSC says 567,500 rockers are sold annually, and manufacturers might face costs of around $80,000 per model for redesign, potentially totaling $1.36 million if their existing products don't already meet the new requirements.
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