Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baby bath seats to get tough new standard

In her book, It's No Accident: How Corporations Sell Dangerous Baby Products, Author E. Marla Felcher says of bath seats, "never use a bathseat/ring; there is no situation where using one is safe. In her chapter on the shortcomings of voluntary standards she says, "Bath seats .. illustrate just how inadequate the industry's voluntary standard setting process can be."

A quick look at retailers show very few are still selling the product -- switching instead to baby tubs which can better control the amount of water and movement of a baby. And that's a good thing. Amelia was one of the lucky ones. Her mother, who had stood for a minute to drop something in the sink, turned back to see her daughter underwater. She was able to pull her out of the water and avert a tragedy. Hundreds are not so lucky. As of November 2009, CPSC shows 179 deaths since 1983 (and most are from 1990 or so forward).

Now, 10 years later, CPSC has approved (5-0) a mandatory bath seat standard that will eliminate the product as it was designed when Felcher wrote of the dangers of the product. On Wednesday, the full commission voted to publish a new mandatory bath seat standard, the first final standard published as required by the Danny Keysar section of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

KID has always recommended against the use of bath seats and continues that recommendation -- even if a bath seat could meet the new standard (there doesn't appear to be one now that meets it). It simply makes it too likely that a baby will be left unattended in a dangerous setting, water! Whatever your bathing solution for your little one, always keep one hand on the baby and stay within arms reach of toddlers in the tub.

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