Manufacturers of high chairs that killed two children and injured an estimated 49,900 infants and toddlers from 2011 to 2016 will have another year to sell the baby-killing product to unsuspecting parents, thanks to our nation’s agency that is supposed to protect consumers.
“The implementation date only refers to the date of manufacture, so it will be well over a year before consumers can be sure the product meets this new standard — a whole year of new babies missing out,” said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. “We always look for a shorter implementation time to get the safer products to consumers faster.”
The commission unanimously approved the voluntary standard requiring high chairs to be more stable, have restraint systems and carry warning labels. Common accidents included falls when the child tried to climb into or out of the high chair, the chair tipping over or a restraint, tray or lock on the chair failing.
A 2008 law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, requires the commission to set safety standards for infant and toddler products. The commission has set safety standards for cribs, baby bath seats, strollers and toddler beds but has yet to set standards for booster seats, changing tables and gates. The section of the law that requires these standards is named after Danny Keysar who strangled to death in 1998 when a portable crib collapsed.
Babies and toddlers are top-heavy with big heads compared to the rest of their bodies and tend to fall headfirst. They are also less able than older children to use their arms to break their falls.
A 2013 study published in Clinical Pediatrics found that concussions and internal injuries were among the most common injuries from high chairs. About 3.1% of children in the study were injured seriously enough to be hospitalized.
Since 2015, 48,500 high chairs from three companies have been recalled because of the risk of falls, the most recent in January when Skip Hop Inc. recalled high chairs because the front legs could detach from the seat.
Fifty-nine firms supply high chairs to the U.S. market. About 7 million high chairs are being used.