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Statement of Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric on Issuance of a Final Safety Standard for Adult Portable Bed Rails

July 06, 2023

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new safety standard today to prevent head and neck entrapments caused by adult portable bed rails. For too long, aging and infirmed Americans have risked injury and death from bed rails purchased to protect and assist them. CPSC staff identified more than 300 fatalities associated with adult portable bed rails from 2003 and 2021, with more than 80 percent of the fatalities involving victims aged 70 or older. In recent years, CPSC increased its efforts to identify and recall defective bed rails and with today’s vote we establish a safety standard to address these risks in the future. I am pleased to support this standard, which will save lives.

More than a decade ago, advocates filed petitions urging the Commission to address the unreasonable risk of injury and death posed by adult portable bed rails. In 2014, the Commission voted to defer the petitions and to provide an opportunity for a voluntary, consensus standard to be developed. In March 2022, five years after a consensus standard was adopted by industry, staff reported to the Commission that industry was continuing to build unsafe bed rails that did not comply with their own safety standards. At that time, I joined my fellow Commissioners in voting to move forward with a mandatory rule.

CPSC’s new rule will require adult portable bed rails to meet safety standards to prevent head and neck entrapment. I am grateful for the advocates who filed those essential petitions. And I thank the many CPSC staff who have worked on this issue for years, throughout the voluntary standards development process and on the rulemaking package. I look forward to a safer future for those who need this assistance.

CPSC will continue our work to identify product safety risks to older Americans, and to address those risks through standards development and enforcement as well as information and education to the public.

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