Thursday, June 3, 2010
CPSC approves mandatory baby walker standard
When the CPSIA passed and was signed in 2008, one of the biggest changes was the section (named after KID's founders' son Danny Keysar) that required mandatory standards for durable infant and toddler products. From the time of Danny's death in 1998, his parents and KID have repeatedly said that what is needed is independent testing to strong mandatory standards before a product can be sold. Parents assume that when they go to the store to buy a nursery product, someone, somewhere has made sure it is safe. With these new standards and testing requirements in place, that is starting to be true.
So following the bath seat standard announced last month, the CPSC now has approved a new mandatory standard for baby walkers, improving the voluntary standard with additional requirements for stair testing and parking brake testing.
As they pointed out in their statement, the voluntary standard had already reduced injuries from falls in walkers significantly. Unlike other standards, CPSC had already been recalling walkers that didn't meet the voluntary standard.
But even with this standard in place and safer walkers, KID, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, recommends against their use. There are developmental issues as well as lingering safety concerns. When a child can move much more quickly and reach higher than their age would indicate, they can still find danger -- reaching a hot pot on the stove, falling down stairs (still happens -- just take a look at the injury data from CPSC), or getting into other trouble. Tummy time on the floor, a stationary entertainer or other options are safer.