Earlier Version: March 4, 2011
Updated: July 15, 2011, Jan. 3, 2013
Since CPSC approved a new crib rule, your questions have been flowing into us. While most questions have revolved around the drop side, it’s important for you to know that the new standard affects far more than the drop side. A crib’s mattress support, slats, and hardware are now required to be more durable and manufacturers will have to test to new more stringent requirements to prove compliance.
Here are some of your questions along with answers:
- What is the new standard for cribs?Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The new rules, which apply to full-size and non full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and require more rigorous testing. The details of the rule are available on CPSC’s website at www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr11/cribfinal.pdf.
The new rules also apply to cribs currently in use at child care centers and places of public accommodation. By December 28, 2012, these facilities must use only compliant cribs that meet the new federal safety standards.
- What if I need to purchase a new crib prior to June 28, 2011?Some compliant cribs may be available before the required date. However, you will not be able tell if the crib is compliant by looking at the crib. So, you may want to ask the retail store or the manufacturer whether the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219, the new federal standard for full-size cribs or with 16 CFR 1220, the new federal standard for non-full-size cribs.
- Is this new regulation simply a ban on all drop-side rail cribs?No, these are sweeping new safety rules that will bring a safer generation of cribs to the marketplace in 2011. CPSC’s new crib standards address many factors related to crib safety in addition to the drop-side rail. A crib’s mattress support, slats, and hardware are now required to be more durable and manufacturers will have to test to the new more stringent requirements to prove compliance.
- Are all drop-side rail cribs “recalled” because of the new regulation?There has not been a specific “recall” of all drop-side cribs due to the new regulation. Instead, some manufacturers recently have recalled their cribs in cooperation with the CPSC because a specific defect or risk of harm has been discovered relating to a particular crib. Although these recalls are separate from CPSC’s new crib standards, traditional drop-side cribs will not meet the new crib standards that became effective on June 28, 2011, and cribs with traditional drop-sides cannot be sold after that date.
- How do I know whether the specific crib that I own/use in my child care facility meets the new standards?You cannot tell from looking at a crib whether it meets the new standards. It is not likely that cribs in use before the Commission issued its crib rule in December 2010 will comply with the new standards. If you are considering purchasing new cribs that meet the standards, you may want to ask the manufacturer or retailer whether the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219 (the new standard for full-size cribs) or 16 CFR 1220 (the new standard for non-full-size cribs). Manufacturers are required to test samples of their cribs to the new standards and to certify that they comply with the new standards. They must provide this certification to the retailer.
You can ask the manufacturer or retailer for a copy of the certificate of compliance that should indicate that the crib is certified to meet 16 CFR 1219 or 16 CFR 1220. Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs manufactured or offered for sale, lease, or resale are required to meet the new crib standards.
- Who will be enforcing the crib standards and what are the penalties for using cribs that do not meet the new standards?CPSC will be the main agency enforcing the new crib standards. The initial focus will be on manufacturers and retailers since they must comply with the new standards by June 28, 2011. Anyone who is covered by the new crib standards and does not comply commits a prohibited act under section 19(a)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). A person or company that knowingly commits a prohibited act is subject to possible civil penalties. States’ attorneys general also have authority to enforce the crib standards through injunctions.
- As a consumer, what can I do if I have a drop-side crib?Some drop-side crib manufacturers have immobilizers that fit their cribs. Drop-side crib immobilizers are devices that are used to secure drop sides to prevent dangerous situations in which the drop-side either partially or fully separates from the crib. As part of a recall, CPSC staff works with companies to provide fixes, or remedies, for products. For drop-side cribs, that remedy has been immobilizers.
Check the CPSC’s website for companies that have recalled their cribs and are providing immobilizers to secure the drop-side on the cribs. These immobilizers were evaluated and approved by CPSC staff for use with these particular drop-side cribs.
If your drop-side crib has not been recalled, you can call the manufacturer and ask if they are making an immobilizer for your crib. Remember, though, that those particular immobilizers have not been tested or evaluated by CPSC staff for use with your specific crib.
Note that a drop side crib, even with an immobilizer installed, will not meet the new CPSC crib standards.
- Is a sturdy, non drop-side crib okay for a consumer to use?It is unlikely that your current crib will meet the new crib standards. The new standards require stronger hardware and rigorous testing to prove a crib’s durability. If you continue to use your current crib, you are encouraged to check the crib frequently to make sure that all hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing, or broken parts. Note that after December 28, 2012, child care facilities, family child care homes, and places of public accommodations, such as hotels and motels, must provide cribs that comply with the new and improved standards.
- My drop-side crib has not been recalled, but I am worried about using it with my baby. Can I return it for a refund?Manufacturers and retailers are not required to accept returned drop-side cribs or to provide a refund if the crib has not been recalled.
- Is it okay for me as a consumer to resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards?A consumer should not resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards, such as trying to resell the product through an online auction site or donating to a local thrift store. CPSC recommends disassembling the crib before discarding it.
- Is the answer different if a piece (“immobilizer”) has been added to my drop-side crib to prevent the side from moving up and down?Consumers should not sell or give away a drop-side crib that has an added immobilizer because it still will not meet the new crib standards.
- If I am unable to purchase a new crib, what can I do to keep my baby safe?If you continue to use your current crib, you are encouraged to:
- a. Check CPSC’s crib recall list to make sure that your crib has not been recalled.
- b. Check the crib frequently to make sure all of the hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing, or broken parts.
- c. If your crib has a drop-side rail, stop using that drop-side function. If the crib has been recalled, request a free immobilizer from the manufacturer or retailer (particular immobilizer will vary depending on the crib).
- d. Another option is to use a portable play yard, so long as it is not a model that has been recalled previously.
- If a customer purchased a crib that was manufactured before June 28, 2011, but they return the crib for a warranty claim after June 28, 2011, must the replacement crib meet the new crib standards?
Yes. When a manufacturer (retailer or other supplier) provides a replacement crib for use beginning on the June 28, 2011, compliance date, the crib must meet the requirements of the CPSC’s new crib standards.
CHILD CARE CENTERS, FOSTER HOMES, CHURCHES, HOSPITALS
- My child care center still has drop-side cribs. Are they in violation of the regulation?No, child care facilities, family child care homes, and places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, have until December 28, 2012, to ensure that the cribs used in their facilities meet the requirements of the CPSC’s new crib standards.
After this date, places of public accommodation may no longer use traditional drop-side cribs or noncompliant cribs and must use cribs meeting the new federal safety standards.
Parents should talk with management about the new standards and the facility’s plan of action for replacing the cribs. Parents also should make sure their baby is not being placed in a recalled crib.
Note: Child care facilities, family child care homes, and places of public accommodation should not resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards, such as trying to resell the product through an online auction site or donating to a local thrift store. CPSC recommends disassembling the crib before discarding it.
- Are portable cribs or play yards affected by the regulation?The crib standards cover portable cribs, but not play yards. CPSC’s crib rule includes a standard for full-size cribs (16 CFR part 1219) and a standard for non-full-size cribs (16 CFR part 1220). A non-full-size crib is a crib that is either larger or smaller (or otherwise shaped differently) from a full-size crib. The standard for non-full-size cribs covers portable cribs (a crib that “may be folded or collapsed, without disassembly, to occupy a volume substantially less than the volume it occupies when it is used”) as defined in that standard. The term “non-full-size crib” does not include products with mesh/net/screen or other non-rigid construction. Instead, enclosures with mesh or fabric sides are considered to be play yards and are not subject to the crib standards.
CPSC is developing a separate mandatory federal standard for play yards.
- Are hospitals required to provide cribs that comply with the CPSC’s new crib regulation?The CPSC crib rule requires only certain facilities to provide cribs that comply with CPSC requirements. Those places include child care facilities, family child care homes, and places of public accommodation such as hotels and motels. Hospital cribs are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Here’s the latest information from them), and thus, are considered to be medical devices. Cribs used in hospitals as medical devices are not required to comply with the new CPSC crib standards.
However, the CPSC will treat a child care facility that is owned or operated by, or located in, a hospital the same way as any other child care facility. We will expect the facility’s cribs to meet the new crib standards by December 28, 2012, unless the facility provides documentation showing that the cribs are medical devices.
- What types of child care arrangements are impacted by the new crib standards?The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) directed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue the new crib standards and apply them to (among others) “any person that … based on the person’s occupation, holds itself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to cribs, including child care facilities and family child care homes.” The law does not define “child care facility” or “family child care home.”
Based on the CPSIA language and other federal programs related to child care, we consider a “child care facility” to mean a nonresidential setting that provides child care services (which could include early learning opportunities) for a fee. We consider “family child care home” to mean a location that provides child care services (which could include early learning opportunities) for a fee in a residential setting. The residential setting is usually in a home other than the one where the child resides, although the child or children of the caregiver may also attend.
Licensing requirements vary widely from one state to another, and whether a child care provider is licensed does not determine the provider’s status as a child care facility or family child care home for purposes of CPSC’s crib standards.
We do not consider “in-home care,” where a child is cared for in his/her own home or by a relative in the child’s home or the relative’s home, to be a “child care facility” or a “family child care home.”
In turn, we do not consider such arrangements to be subject to the new crib standards.
- Are churches/church nurseries subject to the new crib standards?The CPSIA does not provide any exclusion for churches. If a church operates a child care facility, the cribs it provides must comply with the CPSC’s crib standards. Given the language in the CPSIA, we consider a “child care facility” to be one that provides services for a fee or that pays a person (or persons) to take care of children. If volunteers take care of children without pay during a church service, we do not consider that arrangement to be a “child care facility”, and cribs used under such an arrangement would not be subject to the CPSC’s crib standards.
- Are foster homes or residential facilities subject to the new crib standards?We consider a foster home to be a private residence where care is provided in the child’s own home. This arrangement is similar to in-home care and would not be subject to CPSC’s crib standards. However, in addition to child care facilities and family child care homes, CPSC’s crib standards apply to “places of public accommodation,” which means “any inn, hotel, or other establishment … that provides lodging to transient guests.”
We consider a public residential facility (as opposed to a private residence) to be a place of public accommodation and subject to CPSC’s crib standards.
- Are “hospital cribs” located in child care facilities subject to the new crib standards?
This depends on whether the crib is a medical “device.” CPSC’s crib standards do not apply to medical devices. A crib that meets the definition of “device” in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. § 201(h)) is subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not CPSC. You should contact FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health to determine if a particular crib is a “device.”
A crib that is located in a child care facility and is not a “device” is subject to CPSC’s crib standards.
MANUFACTURERS, IMPORTERS, RETAILERS
- Is it possible to retrofit a crib that is currently in use (e.g., in a child care facility) to meet the new crib standards?CPSC staff does not believe that a crib currently in use can be retrofitted and tested to show compliance with the new crib standards. Typically, a crib is destroyed in the process of testing; therefore, retrofitting cribs currently in use cannot be done. As discussed in the preamble to the final rule, the crib standards include multiple, complex requirements for many parts of a crib, making it difficult to determine whether a retrofitted crib currently in use would meet the requirements without testing that specific crib. (Section E.9 of the preamble to the final crib rule, 75 Fed. Reg. at 81771-72.) Also, a retrofit, such as a side rail immobilizer, which previously might have been an acceptable remedy to address a defect in a recalled crib, may not necessarily make a crib compliant with the new crib standards because additional new compliance requirements now apply to that crib design.
- Is it possible for a retailer, manufacturer, or lessor to retrofit unused crib inventory to meet the new crib standards?Under some circumstances, it may be possible to retrofit unused, noncompliant crib inventory to meet the new crib standards. To comply with the new standards, an existing crib model – with the retrofit in place – must be put through the complete test regimen. In other words, the crib model, as it exists in inventory, must be tested with the retrofit, and it must meet all the provisions of the relevant new standards and be certified to the applicable new standards prior to its sale. The manufacturer should provide a way to ensure that all the crib models in inventory have been retrofitted properly. For unused cribs in inventory, we assume that cribs of the same model are sufficiently similar, so that when a model that is identical to the crib(s) in inventory is tested to the standard with the retrofit, and the crib passes the test, then that retrofit can be applied to all other identical models currently in inventory to make them compliant. It is the manufacturer’s, retailer’s, or lessor’s responsibility to ensure that all cribs sold (or resold or leased) on and after June 28, 2011, are compliant with the new standards. If a retrofit is used, it is the manufacturer’s or importer’s responsibility to provide certification of the retrofitted crib, following testing by a CPSC-accepted certifying body, to ensure that the inventory is sold only with a retrofit that makes the crib compliant with the standard. The same retrofit methods developed for a non-compliant unused crib cannot be applied to a crib model that is used or that currently is in use because each crib is unique, due to its use patterns. Therefore, each used crib unit would have to be tested with the retrofit in place before the crib could be certified. The testing can be destructive; and likely would render the crib unusable.
- If inventory is retrofitted, what testing is required?
The crib model must be tested to the relevant crib standard (16 CFR part 1219 or 16 CFR part 1220) with the retrofit in place. The testing must be conducted by a third party testing body that has been accredited and accepted by the CPSC to test cribsto the new crib standards.
- Must crib manufacturers, retailers, and lessors get approval from the CPSC to retrofit crib inventory?
No. The CPSC does not approve crib retrofit methods. The CPSC relies on the manufacturer’s/importer’s certification of compliance of the retrofitted product that is supported by testing to the applicable standard by a CPSC accepted conformity assessment body.
- If a company has an inventory of cribs that do not comply with the new crib standards, could the company export the noncompliant cribs to another country?
Yes. However, beginning June 28, 2011, a company first must notify the CPSC and follow the procedures stated in 16 CFR part 1019, pertaining to Export of Noncomplying, Misbranded, or Banned Products.
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