New safety rules will be enforced starting Feb. 28 for those popular play yards, which many parents use for their small children. Play yards used to be called play pens.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the new rules were written in response to the death of a Chicago area boy. He suffocated when the play yard he was napping in collapsed.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says play yards that meet the new safety standard must have:
- Side rails that do not form a sharp V when the product is folded. This prevents a child from strangling in the side rail.
- Stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and to prevent a side-rail collapse.
- Sturdier mattress attachments to the play yard floor to prevent children from getting trapped or hurt.
In addition to the play yard safety standard, CPSC has issued mandatory safety standards for cribs, children's bed rails, baby bath seats, baby walkers, infant swings and toddler beds.
CPSC staff is currently working on safety standards for bedside sleepers, hand-held infant carriers, bassinets, and bassinet attachments to play yards and will propose rules this year for strollers, soft infant carriers and infant slings.
If you use a play yard, keep it bare when you put your baby in it. Each year, CPSC receives reports of infant suffocation deaths. Some key causes of these deaths are the placement of pillows and thick quilts in a baby's sleeping space and/or overcrowding in the space.
Here's a link to the Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov