CPSC Child Product Registration Rule Aims to Improve Recall Notifications

Federal regulators have approved a new rule that will require manufacturers of durable infant and child products to maintain a registration list of customers, making it easier to notify parents about dangerous and defective products.

The new safety rule, approved unanimously by the five commissioners of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), will require manufacturers of cribs, high chairs, gates, strollers and other infant and toddler furniture to provide registration cards with each product and maintain a list of registered consumers. The registration would be used to alert as many consumers as possible if there is a product recall.

The rule comes in the wake of a series of re-issued recalls for Simplicity drop-side cribs over the past two years. The defective cribs have been connected to the deaths of at least 11 infants, several of which occurred after the cribs were recalled. The CPSC found that many of the recalled cribs remained on the market due to consumers being unaware of the recalls, and the CPSC re-issued a number of times.

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Simplicity Inc. went out of business in 2008 in the wake of the crib recalls and infant deaths. Many major retailers who sold Simplicity products, such as Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penny and Kmart have agreed to accept returns.

Even after Simplicity went out of business, the CPSC has continued to discover problems with Simplicity products. Every drop side crib ever manufactured by Simplicity has been recalled. But the recalls were not limited to Simplicity cribs. Bassinets and play yards manufactured by the company have been recalled as well.

CPSC officials hope that the new rule promulgated on December 16 will allow the commission to quickly and efficiently contact a large number of purchasers immediately when a problem with the products have been detected, as opposed to having to rely on media, word-of-mouth, or non-uniform methods which may vary from company to company.

The new rule affects 18 product categories for infants and toddlers, and goes into effect in 180 days after the rule is published in the federal register for 12 of the products and 365 days after publication for the remaining six. The product categories affected by the ruling includes:

  • Cribs
  • Toddler beds
  • High chairs, booster chairs and hook-on chairs
  • Bath seats
  • Gates and other enclosures
  • Play yards
  • Activity centers
  • Infant carriers
  • Strollers
  • Walkers
  • Swings
  • Bassinets and cradles
  • Children’s folding chairs
  • Changing tables
  • Bouncers
  • Bathtubs
  • Bed rails
  • Slings

“Too many of these products are ones that children have died in,” said Commissioner Thomas H. Moore. “But it is especially troubling when a child dies in a product that our agency has recalled because the owner of the product was unaware of the recall. I think we must do everything in our power to encourage the public to use these safety alert/recall cards and I hope the product manufacturers will strongly promote the use of these cards to their consumers.”

Manufacturers who fail to adhere to the rule or who use the registration card information for purposes other than alerting consumers of a recall could face severe civil penalties.


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