The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published a final rule in the Federal Register (), establishing a mandatory safety standard for children’s gates and enclosures: the Safety Standard for Gates and Enclosures (), incorporating by reference ASTM F1004-21.
The final rule requires that all children’s gates and enclosures intended for confining a child age 6 months through 24 months, including expansion gates and non-expandable, fixed-sized gates and enclosures, comply with the Safety Standard for Gates and Enclosures, 16 CFR part 1239, and with additional requirements, including those specified by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
ASTM F1004-21 addresses many of the general hazards associated with the use of children's gates and enclosures, such as wood parts, sharp points, small parts, lead in paint, scissoring, shearing, pinching, openings, exposed coil springs, locking and latching, and protective components.
Manufacturers and importers of gates and enclosures must certify in a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) that their gates and enclosures comply with the mandatory standard and any additional CPSIA requirements after the gates and enclosures have been tested for compliance at a CPSC-accepted, third party laboratory. These requirements are discussed below and in CPSC’s Regulatory Robot.
ASTM F1004-21 defines an “expansion gate” as a “barrier intended to be erected in an opening, such as a doorway, to prevent the passage of young children, but which can be removed by older persons who are able to operate the locking mechanism” (section 3.1.7).
ASTM F1004-21 defines an “expandable enclosure” as a “self-supporting barrier intended to completely surround an area or play-space within which a young child may be confined” (section 3.1.6). These products are intended for young children age 6 months through 24 months (section 1.2).
ASTM F1004-21 clarifies that the scope of the standard includes “Products known as expansion gates and expandable enclosures, or by any other name [emphasis added].”
The new standard seeks to minimize the risk of injury or death associated with a child’s use of a gate or enclosure.
CPSC staff reviewed recalls involving children’s gates and enclosures from January 2008 to December 2018. More than 1 million units (1,318,180) associated with 215 incidents and 13 injuries were recalled for the following hazards to children: falls, entrapments, tripping, and lacerations.
Section 1239.2 of the final rule states that each gate and enclosure must comply with the applicable sections of ASTM F1004-21
For pressure-mounted gates that do not use wall cups to meet the 30-pound push-out force test, the gates must use visual side-pressure indicators to provide consumers feedback as to whether the gate is correctly installed.
The ASTM General Requirements for gates and enclosures address numerous hazards, most of which are also found in the other ASTM juvenile product standards. ASTM F1004-21 contains the following requirements to address safety hazards common to many juvenile products:
- Wood parts
- Sharp edges or points
- Small parts
- Exposed coil springs
- Scissoring, shearing, and pinching
- Lead in paint, and
- Protective components
Performance Requirements for Gates and Enclosures. The sections below include a summary of the performance and labeling requirements specific to children's gates and enclosures (see ASTM F1004-21 for specific test methodologies):
- Completely bounded openings: This requirement is intended to address incidents in which children were found with their heads entrapped after having pushed their way into gaps created between soft or flexible gate and enclosure components, and between the gate and the sides of passageways to be blocked off, for example, a door frame or wall.
- Height of sides: This requirement is intended to prevent child occupants from being able to lean over, and then tumble over the top of the gate.
- Vertical strength: This requirement is intended to check that gates and enclosures retain child occupants, even when children hang from or attempt to climb up the gates.
- Bottom spacing: This requirement is intended to address incidents in which children were found with their heads entrapped under a gate, after having pushed their way, feet first, into gaps created between the gate and the floor.
- Configuration of uppermost edge: This requirement is intended to address head/neck entrapment incidents reported in the “V-” shaped openings common in older, “accordion-style” gates.
- Latching/locking and hinge mechanisms: This pre-conditioning test is intended to address incidents involving failures of latches, hinges, and hardware.
- Automatic closing system: This requirement is intended to check that a gate closes completely and locks as it is expected and advertised to do, thereby reducing the likelihood of a child accessing potentially hazardous conditions on the other side of an unintentionally unsecured gate.
- Push-out force strength: This requirement is intended to prevent a child from being able to dislodge the gate and gain access to a hazardous area the gate was meant to keep them from accessing.
- Locking devices: This requirement is intended to prevent a child being contained by the gate from being able to operate the locking mechanism.
- Toys: Toy accessories shall not be attached to, or sold with, a gate. Toy accessories attached to, removable from, or sold with an enclosure, shall meet applicable requirements of specification ASTM F963 “Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety.”
- Slat Strength: This requirement is intended to check that gates and enclosures retain their structural integrity when children push or pull on the gate or enclosure slats.
- Label testing: Paper and non-paper labels (excluding labels attached by a seam) shall not liberate without the aid of tools or solvents.
- Wall-Cup Warning Label: For pressure-mounted gates that include wall cups with the product to meet the 30-pound push-out force test, the gates must include a separate warning label in a conspicuous location on the top rail of the gate regarding correct installation using wall cups
- Visual Side-Pressure Indicators: For pressure-mounted gates that do not use wall cups to meet the 30-pound push-out force test, the gates must use visual side-pressure indicators to provide consumers feedback as to whether the gate is correctly installed.
Warning, Labeling, and Instructions. These provisions specify the marking, labeling, and instructional literature requirements that must appear on, or with, each gate or enclosure. Warnings are also required on the retail packaging, unless they are visible in their entirety on the gate or enclosure at point of purchase for consumers to see.
Gates and enclosures are subject to requirements for surface coatings, lead, testing and certification, registration cards, and tracking labels under the CPSIA. These requirements are discussed below and at: www.cpsc.gov/BusinessEducation:
- Surface Coating Limit: Gates and enclosures must not be painted with paint that contains more than 90 ppm (0.009 percent) lead.
- Lead Content Limit: Gates and enclosures must not contain greater than 100 ppm (0.01 percent) of total lead content in any accessible component part.
- Testing and Certification: Gates and enclosures, like all products that are designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger, must be tested by a CPSC-accepted, third party laboratory for compliance to the Safety Standard for Gates and Enclosures, as well as all other applicable children’s product safety rules, such as lead paint and lead content. Based on that testing, a domestic manufacturer (or importer) of gates and enclosures must issue a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) specifying each applicable rule and indicating that the product complies with those rules.
- Product and Outer Package Labeling Requirements: Durable infant or toddler products, such as gates and enclosures, must be permanently marked with specific labeling information, including tracking labels, on the product and on the packaging.
For more information on the requirements for durable infant or toddler products, specifically gates and enclosures, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Visit our Regulatory Robot, designed to guide you through CPSC’s product safety requirements.
- Contract our Office of Compliance (for specific enforcement inquiries): e-mail: email@example.com; telephone: (800) 638-2772.
- Ask our Small Business Ombudsman (for general assistance understanding and complying with CPSC regulations): e-mail: Please use our Contact Form, which is the best way to get a fast response; telephone: (888) 531-9070.
To purchase copies of ASTM F1004-21, contact ASTM International at: www.astm.org or via telephone: 1-877-909-2786. ASTM F1004-21 can be viewed free of charge as a read-only document at: https://www.astm.org/READINGLIBRARY/.