Infant Bath Tub Safety Standards Approved by CPSC to Reduce Drowning Risk

Federal officials have released a series of new regulations that are designed to to improve the safety of infant bath tub, and reduce the risk of drownings and other injuries. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the passage of new safety standards for infant bath tubs, following a unanimous vote of 5-0 on March 30, 2017. The new rules require infant bath tubs to contain fall and drowning warnings, as well as additional safety equipment.

Infant bath tubs are designed to hold water for a baby to be placed in for a bath, while providing support or containment for an infant in a reclining, sitting, or standing position. These devices are commonly designed to be placed within an adult bath tub, sink or on top of other surfaces. The various designs include bucket-style tubs, inflatable tubs, foldable tubs, and bath tubs with spa features such as “whirlpool” settings.

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According to the CPSC, between January 2004 and December 2015, a total of 247 infant bath tub injuries or deaths were reported, resulting in 31 fatalities and 216 non-fatal incidents. Of the non-fatal incidents, 32 of the reports resulted in a wide range of injuries.

Common injuries include drowning or near drowning events due to the child being left alone for even just a short period of time, lacerations from cracked tub frames, product failures, entrapment hazards, slippery tub surfaces, mold or allergy issues, and injuries related to battery failures.

The CPSC’s newly passed regulations would mandate manufacturers incorporate several new requirements for bath tubs including latching and locking mechanism requirements, static load testing, drowning and fall warnings, markings, and instructions on how to properly use the tubs while preventing injuries.

The guidelines were developed and submitted to the CPSC by ASTM International, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials, an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.

The new safety standard approved by the CPSC for infant bath tubs known as ASTM F2670-17 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Bath Tubs, has an effective date set for six months after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

The CPSC is asking owners and caregivers to never leave their children alone in infant bath tubs, to always keep the children within an arm’s reach to prevent falls, never let other young children monitor infants in the tubs and if possible to learn CPR for emergency situations.

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