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January 19, 2000

 

New Mandatory Requirements for Bunk Beds

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an independent federal regulatory agency established by Congress in 1972, has issued a mandatory safety standard for bunk beds. The purpose of the performance standard is to prevent the unreasonable risk of injury and death from children becoming entrapped in the beds' structure or wedged between the bed and the wall.

The standard requires bunk beds manufactured for sale in the United States or imported into the United States on or after June 19, 2000, to meet the requirements of the standard. This is described in the Federal Register notice (text format or pdf) setting forth the Safety Standard for Bunk Beds. Among other things, the standard requires bunk beds to meet performance requirements and to bear cautionary labeling. As to beds manufactured for use by adults, manufacturers must comply with the certification requirements in section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2063. That section, among other things, requires manufacturers to issue a certificate certifying that their bunk beds conform to the standard. The certificate must be based on a test of each product or a reasonable testing program.

Beginning June 19, 2000, it is a prohibited act to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the United States a bunk bed subject to the standard that does not meet the standard's requirements. See 15 U.S.C. §2068. CPSC can seek a civil penalty for each prohibited act, not to exceed $7,000 for each violation up to a maximum of $1,650,000 for a related series of violations.

In addition to the CPSC's standard, there is a voluntary standard, ASTM F 1427-96, that addresses additional hazards, for example, foundation and guardrail structural integrity. For hazards other than entrapment that are addressed in the ASTM standard, CPSC staff will consider the ASTM standard when investigating whether a bunk bed presents a substantial risk of injury to children that may require some type of corrective action under the statutes administered by the Commission.

We are providing a list of laboratories that have advised CPSC they can perform testing. Manufacturers may wish to contact a testing laboratory to ensure that bunk bed designs meet the provisions of the rule and the voluntary standard. CPSC does not endorse, certify, or approve testing laboratories or specific product designs.

If there are any questions regarding the new bunk bed requirements, please do not hesitate to contact Pam Major at (301) 504-7590. She can also be reached by email at pmajor@cpsc.gov or by writing to her at U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207.

Alan H. Schoem
Director
Office of Compliance