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Adult Portable Bed Rails

CPSC published in the Federal Register (88 FR 46958) a final rule that establishes a mandatory safety standard for adult portable bed rails. The rule incorporates by reference ASTM F3186-17 with modifications. The requirements are codified at 16 CFR part 1270 and apply to adult portable bed rails manufactured after August 21, 2023.

An “adult portable bed rail” is defined as “an adjacent type bed rail, grab bar, assistive bar, transfer aid, cane or rail (henceforth identified as the product or products) intended by the manufacturer to be installed on, against, or adjacent to an adult bed…to provide assistance to the bed occupant in moving on the bed surface, in entering or exiting the bed, to minimize the possibility of falling out of bed, or for other similar purposes”. Products that are likely used for these purposes, whether or not intended by the manufacturer, may be considered within scope.

Products that are not within scope of the rule include guardrails or side rails intended for use on FDA-regulated hospital beds or portable bed rails for children. Portable bed rails for children are regulated under 16 CFR part 1224; more information is available on our children's portable bed rail business guidance page.

The adult portable bed rails standard outlines various requirements as follows:

  • Must meet performance requirements for
    • Retention systems:
      The bed rail must maintain the installed position during testing using some form of retention system that is permanently attached to the product. Retention systems must not be able to be removed without use of a tool. If straps are used as the retention system, they must allow the product to continue to meet all test requirements.
    • Structural integrity:
      The top of the bed rail must be at least 4 in. higher than the top surface of the thickest mattress the rail is recommended for. Any testing conducted must not change the dimensions of the rail or create any hazardous conditions as defined in section 5 and 6 of ASTM F3186-17.
    • Entrapment:
      Entrapment zones are areas, gaps, or openings that can potentially capture or restrain a person’s body part. There are 4 different zones to test for entrapment: (1) within the rail, (2) between the rail support and mattress, (3) between the rail and mattress, (4) under the end of the rail and mattress. See Figure 1 of ASTM F3186-17 for a visual depiction of these zones. Depending on the zone, different methods for testing are used.
    • Openings:
      Any holes or slots of any rigid material less than 0.375 in. thick that allow a 0.210 in. rod must also allow a 0.375 in. rod.
    • Misassembled Products:
      The bed rail must be constructed in a manner such that mis-assembly of the product renders it visually nonfunctional to the consumer.
  • Cannot have hazardous sharp points or edges per 16 CFR §§ 1500.48 and 1500.49
  • Bear permanent labeling and warning statements 

Test procedures are outlined in sections 8 and 10, and the required warning statements are outlined in section 9 of ASTM F3186-17. Note that CPSC’s modifications to ASTM F3816-17 take precedence and are found at 16 CFR § 1270.2(b).

Read-only copies of ASTM standards that are incorporated by reference can be viewed at ASTM’s electronic Reading Room. Other ASTM standards referenced within ASTM F3186-17 may need to be purchased from


Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) requires manufacturers and importers of general-use consumer products subject to a regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC to certify that those products meet the requirements of the standard by issuing a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC). The citation to use in section 2 of the GCC is “16 CFR part 1270 – Adult portable bed rails”.

For more information on certification, visit our GCC business guidance page.

Additional Information


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