Federal law requires that frame child carriers comply with the frame child carrier standard and with additional requirements, including those of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
Manufacturers and importers of frame child carriers must certify in a Children's Product Certificate that the frame child carriers comply with the standard and the additional requirements after the frame child carriers have been tested for compliance at a CPSC-accepted, third party laboratory. These requirements are discussed below and in greater detail at www.cpsc.gov/BusinessEducation.
A frame child carrier is typically a product of sewn fabric construction on a tubular metal or other frame, which is designed to carry a child in an upright position on the back of the caregiver. The intended users of frame carriers are children who are able to sit upright unassisted and weigh between 16 pounds and 50 pounds. Frame carriers are intended to be worn on the back and suspended from both shoulders of the caregiver’s body in a forward- or rear-facing position. This type of carrier is often used for hiking and closely resembles hiking/mountaineering backpacks not intended to be used for child transport.
The standard seeks to minimize the risk of deaths and injuries associated with the use of frame child carriers, specifically incidents related to structural integrity, such as poor quality stitching on straps, detachment of the cloth component from the frame, loose screws, and breakage of the frame, stability of the frame child carrier, leg holes that are too large and allow a child to slip out or almost slip out of the carrier, and inadequacy of restraints.
The standard is published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 16 CFR Part 1230. The standard incorporates by reference ASTM F2549-14a. ASTM F2549-14a, the Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Frame Child Carriers, details the specific requirements and descriptions of the tests for frame child carriers and can be purchased from ASTM International.
The rule became effective on September 2, 2016, and will apply to all frame child carriers manufactured or imported on or after that date.
The CPSC standard includes performance requirements specific to frame child carriers, general performance requirements, and labeling requirements. ASTM F2549-14a contains key requirements to:
- Prohibit small parts, sharp points and edges;
- Prevent splinters in wood parts;
- Prevent scissoring, shearing, and pinching;
- Address exposed coil springs;
- Prevent unintentional folding through locking and latching requirements for carriers that fold for storage;
- Prevent unintentional folding of the kick stands for carriers with kick stands that can stand freely;
- Mandate that warning labels be permanent;
- Address potential falls from leg openings to help prevent smaller occupants from falling out of the carrier through a single leg opening;
- Address dynamic strength, which tests the frame, fasteners, and seams/stitching under dynamic conditions to help prevent breakage or separation;
- Test static load to ensure the carrier can hold three times the maximum recommended weight;
- Test stability which helps prevent an occupied carrier from tipping over during normal use, for carriers that can stand freely;
- Mandate retention system with a restraint system and to provides a method for testing the restraints;
- Ensure handle integrity, which helps prevent the handle from breaking or separating when it is pulled with three times the maximum recommended weight;
- Mandate the carriers to meet flammability requirements; and other requirements.
Frame child carriers are subject to requirements for surface coatings, lead and (in certain circumstances) phthalate content, testing and certification, registration cards, and tracking labels. These requirements are discussed below and at: www.cpsc.gov/BusinessEducation:
- Surface Coating Limit: Frame child carriers must not be painted with paint that contains more than 90 ppm (0.009 percent) lead.
- Lead Content Limit: Frame child carriers must not contain greater than 100 ppm (0.01 percent) of total lead content in any accessible component part.
- Phthalate Content Limits: Frame child carriers that contain plasticized parts that are designed, marketed, or intended to facilitate sleep or have plasticized components that are designed, marketed, or intended to facilitate eating, must not contain more than 0.1 percent of the following eight specified phthalates: di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP), and dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP).
- Testing and Certification: Frame child carriers, 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 with the frame child carrier standard and all other applicable children's product safety rules. Based on that testing, a domestic manufacturer (or importer) of frame child carriers must issue a Children's Product Certificate 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 frame child carriers, must be permanently marked with specific labeling information, including tracking labels, on the product and on the packaging. In addition, durable infant or toddler products are required to have additional product markings and a product registration card attached to the product. This chart summarizes the specific labeling and registration requirements that durable infant and toddler products must meet.