Play Yards: New Federal Safety Standards to Take Effect

Play Yards: New Federal Safety Standards to Take Effect
Image: NCCC

Beginning February 28, 2013, manufacturers and importers of infant and toddler play yards will be required to test their play yards to ensure that they meet new federal safety standards.

Play yards are framed enclosures with a floor and mesh or fabric side panels. Most can be folded for storage or travel.

Under the new standards, play yards 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.

This is one of many new safety standards that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has passed as part of the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, or what is also referred to as "Danny's Law." Danny Keysar was killed in Chicago in 1998 when a previously recalled play yard in which he was napping collapsed, suffocating him.

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.