Play yards, also known as pack-n-plays, are convenient places for children to nap at home, while traveling, and in child care homes. However, children have been injured or killed by poorly constructed or improperly assembled products that have collapsed during use.
As of last Thursday (February 28), new safety standards for play yards went into effect. The Consumer Product Safety Commission now requires all manufacturers and importers of play yards to ensure that the play yards include:
- A stability test to prevent the play yard from tipping over.
- Latch and lock mechanisms to keep the play yard from folding on a child when it's in use.
- Entrapment tests for attachments so a child's head does not get trapped while a bassinet or other accessory is attached.
- Floor strength tests to ensure structural integrity and to prevent children from getting trapped by the play yard floor.
- Minimum side height requirements to prevent children from getting out of the play yard on their own.
- A test to prevent play yards whose top rails fold downward from using a hinge that creates a V- or diamond shape when folded to prevent head or neck entrapment. http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/02/play-yards-new-safety-rule-to-take-effect/
The CPSC initially considered a provision to address steps to prevent improper assembly of play yards, but decided to not include it in the requirements at this time. But, in the interest of child safety, we all need to ensure that we read the assembly instructions carefully and assemble the product correctly.
In addition to the new requirements, the CPSC also reminds parents and caregivers to keep the play yard bare. Just like any other sleeping areas for infants, pillows, stuffed animals, sleep positioning devices, and thick blankets create suffocation hazards and should be avoided. For more information, check out the CPSC article at: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/09/safe-sleep-bedding-pillows-safety-and-more/
By the way, if you are attending the California AEYC Conference next week, look for us. We will be in the Exhibitor's Hall and will also be presenting a workshop on Strategic Planning on Thursday. Stop by and say "hi".