The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted (4-0) to adopt a new federal standard to make portable bed rails safer for children. A portable bed rail is used on the side of an adult bed to keep children, typically age 2 to 5 years old, from falling out of the bed.
The mandatory standard contains safety requirements for bed rails and addresses consumer assembly and installation problems that have resulted in child deaths. CPSC staff worked closely with the standards development organization ASTM International to update its consensus standard. CPSC's new mandatory standard incorporates ASTM's bed rail standard F2085-12.
The federal standard for portable bed rails includes the following requirements:
- Portable bed rails must not create a dangerous gap with the mattress into which a child can fall.
- They must be tested to make sure the bed rail hardware is permanently attached, and that the components cannot be assembled in an unsafe manner.
- Bed rails must have improved warnings on labels and instructions.
- Installation components, such as anchor or straps, must be permanently attached to the bed rail. These component parts also must have a warning label on them.
- Bed rails must not have hazardous sharp edges, points or small parts.
The improved warnings explicitly state that bed rails should never be used with children younger than two years old. They are intended for children age 2 to 5 who can get out of an adult bed without help. Gaps in and around bed rails have entrapped young children and killed infants.
The federal standard will go into effect six months after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.
In addition to portable bed rails, the Commission has approved mandatory standards for other children's products, including cribs, bath seats, baby walkers and toddler beds, as required by Congress in Section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.