WASHINGTON, D.C. –To help keep infants and toddlers safe, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a new federal standard intended to improve the safety of infant bath tubs and prevent drownings.
An “infant bath tub” is a tub, enclosure, or other similar product intended to hold water and be placed into an adult bath tub, sink, or on top of other surfaces. The product provides support and/or containment for an infant in a reclining, sitting, or standing position during bathing by a caregiver. The infant bath tub category covers a variety of products, including bucket-style tubs, inflatable tubs, foldable tubs, and bath tubs with spa features, such as “whirlpool” settings, “separate whirlpool” settings, and separate handheld showers.
The new federal safety standard incorporates the most recent voluntary standard developed by ASTM International (ASTM F2670-17 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Bath Tubs). The mandatory standard contains several requirements for infant bath tubs, including:
- latching and locking mechanism requirements
- static load testing
- drowning and fall warnings, markings, and instructions
Between January 2004 and December 2015, a total of 247 incidents were reported to CPSC involving infant tubs—31 fatal and 216 nonfatal. Of the 216 non-fatal incidents, 32 reports involved an injury to the infant during use of the product.
The most frequent hazard patterns associated with infant bath tubs include:
- drowning/near-drowning because the child was left alone in the tub
- protrusions/sharp edges or points/lacerations
- product failures
- entrapment issues
- slippery tub surfaces
- mold/allergy issues
- and other issues, including battery-related incidents
The effective date for the new mandatory infant bath tub standard is six months after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.
CPSC advises parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant bath tubs and to follow these safety tips:
- Never leave young children alone, even for a moment, near any water. Young children can drown quickly, even in small amounts of water.
- Always keep a young child in a bathtub within arm’s reach. If you must leave, take the child with you.
- Don't leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
- Learn CPR. It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.
The Commission is required by the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, Section 104(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), to issue consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. In the past 7 years, the Commission has approved new federal safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, including full-size cribs, non-full-size cribs, play yards, baby walkers, baby bath seats, children’s portable bed rails, strollers, toddler beds, infant swings, handheld infant carriers, soft infant carriers, framed infant carriers, bassinets, cradles, portable hook-on chairs and infant sling carriers.
The Commission voted unanimously (5-0) to approve the standard on March 24, 2017.