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Child Development and Juvenile Product Hazards

Wednesday, August 17, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kathleen Chaplick
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Written by Brian Grochal of UL

 

Most juvenile products fall into the scope of an ASTM standard. However, as the industry progresses, we are seeing more products that do not clearly fall into a standard, fall into multiple standards or have additional features not considered by the standard(s) into which it falls. Meeting the applicable mandatory or voluntary standard is very important, but it is best practice to design toward a higher level of safety. One facet of this is to select an appropriate age/weight/developmental grading of the product and address the hazard implications of this decision.

 

The information below brings to light key child developments and the juvenile product hazards that may need to be considered during product development, as well as industry best practices for mitigating the risk of these hazards.

 

Key developmental milestones under 6 months of age

Hold-up Head Unassisted

Push-Up on Hands and Knees

Roll Over

Sit-up Unassisted

 

Hazards associated with child development and juvenile products under 6 months of age


Suffocation – Children can slump over and suffocate in products with an inclined seat if they do not have strong enough neck muscles to hold up their head without assistance.

 

Best Practice: For products with an inclined seat, keep the seat back angle under 50 degrees. If a five-point restraint system is used, keep the seat back angle under 60 degrees.

 

Falls – Children who can push up on their hands and knees may be able to escape products with short barriers and fall.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that barriers are tall enough to retain the child in foreseeable use scenarios (consider applying the ASTM F2194 side height requirement of 7.5 inches or the ASTM F2388 barriers requirement). Clearly direct consumers to discontinue use of such products when this milestone is reached.

 

Strangulation – Children who can roll over have strangled in restraint systems when not attended.

 

Best Practice: If a restraint system is necessary, ensure that the restraint system can be easily adjusted to fit snugly for the smallest suitable occupant and prevent their limbs from escaping the intended loops. Also, warn parents not to allow children to sleep in products with restraint systems for a prolonged period of time.

 

Falls - Frontal Stability – Children who can sit up unassisted may be able to lean forward and fall from seated products.

 

Best Practice: Ensure a high level of frontal stability (consider applying the forward stability test from ASTM F3084 or F2167) and ensure a secure restraint system. Anchor the restraint system on the frame of the product if possible.

 

Head Entrapment – Children can get their heads trapped in bounded openings.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that a gap will not allow the child’s torso to pass through causing them to get stuck at the head. Attempt to pass the 3.0 inches x 5.0 inches torso probe through an accessible completely bounded opening. If the torso probe can pass through completely, then ensure that the large head probe can also pass through.

 

Suffocation in Gaps – Children can suffocate in small gaps between the floor and side of sleeping products or between mattress segments.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that gaps between the floor and sides of sleeping products are always less than 1.0 inch. Ensure that segmented mattresses cannot bow upward at the seam, forming an angle greater than 10 degrees from the horizontal.

 

Suffocation in Mattresses – Infants can suffocate in mattresses that are so thick that they can conform to a child’s face.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that a mattress for an infant sleeping product is either sufficiently thin or structural that is cannot confirm to a child’s nose and mouth. Consider applying the mattress thickness requirement from the ASTM F2194 that requires a 1.5-inches maximum thickness with 1-inch maximum filling thickness.

 

Finger Entrapment – Children can get their fingers stuck in holes or slots.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that openings in products are larger than 0.375-inch diameter or smaller than a 0.210-inch diameter, unless the depth is always less than 0.375 inch. Ensure that openings on mesh are less than 0.250 inch in diameter.

 

Scissor/Pinching/Shearing – Children can suffer finger injuries between moving parts.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that the clearance between moving parts is always larger than 0.375 inch or smaller than a 0.210 inch.

 

Poisoning­ – Children can chew on components. If these components have toxic coatings, this can cause serious issues.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that accessible, mouthable components with coatings do not use potentially harmful chemicals. Consider compliance with the lead and heavy metals requirements in 16 CFR 1303 and ASTM F963.

 

Choking – Children under age 3 can choke on small parts inserted into their mouth.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that products do not include accessible small parts that could fit entirely into the small parts cylinder. This includes small parts that can detach as a result of use and abuse (reference 16 CFR 1500.52).

 

Falls – Restraint System Security – Children in seats with restraint systems can escape the restraint system and suffer injuries from falls.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that the restraint buckle includes a double-action release mechanism or a single action release mechanism that requires more than 9 lbf.

 

Key developmental milestones 6 months to 5 years

Grab and Pull

Crawl

Stand

Walk

Climb

Jump

Teething

 

Hazards associated with child development and juvenile products 6 months to 5 years


Impact – When children can grab and pull objects, they can cause objects to detach causing an impact injury.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that accessible toys, components and accessories cannot easily detach or impact the occupant with significant force. Consider the force of the largest suitable occupant when developing a specification.

 

Falls - Impact – When children can walk, they could be injured by falls into rigid objects.

 

Best Practice: Ensure objects that a child could impact during foreseeable use while falling are sufficiently padded.

 

Entanglement - Clothing – When children can walk, articles worn by the child can catch on projections or corner posts, causing entanglements by the article and potentially posing a strangulation hazard.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that no protrusions exist in an area where an item worn by a child could become hooked (consider applying the ASTM F406 protrusions test). Ensure that corner posts do not extend more than 0.06 inch above the upper edge of an adjacent component.

 

Falls - Footholds – Children climb out using footholds in enclosure products and fall.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that the product does not have any footholds than will help to boost a child in climbing out (consider applying the toe hold requirement from ASTM F1169).

 

Choking – Children can bite off small components from products and choke.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that a child’s teeth cannot pierce through accessible mouthable soft goods and expose loose filling material. Ensure that accessible rigid components do not release fragments when a child chews on it and that accessible small components cannot detach if a child bites and pulls.

 

Poisoning­ – Children can chew on components. If these components have toxic coatings, this can cause serious issues.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that accessible, mouthable components with coatings do not use potentially harmful chemicals. Consider compliance with the lead and heavy metals requirements in 16 CFR 1303 and ASTM F963.

 

Choking – Children under age 3 can choke on small parts inserted into their mouth.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that products do not include accessible small parts that could fit entirely into the small parts cylinder. This includes small parts that can detach as a result of use and abuse (reference 16 CFR 1500.52).

 

Falls – Restraint System Security – Children in seats with restraint systems can escape the restraint system and suffer injuries from falls.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that the restraint buckle includes a double-action release mechanism or a single action release mechanism that requires more than 9 lbf.

 

Falls – Restraint System Attachment – Children in products with restraint systems may try to escape, causing the anchor points to detach and risking injury from falls.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that each strap of the restraint system can withstand 45 lbf repeated five times without the anchor detaching.

 

Finger Entrapment – Children can get their fingers stuck in holes or slots.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that openings in products are larger than 0.375-inch diameter or smaller than a 0.210-inch diameter, unless the depth is always less than 0.375 inch. Ensure that openings on mesh are less than 0.250 inch in diameter.

 

Scissor/Pinching/Shearing – Children can suffer finger injuries between moving parts.

 

Best Practice: Ensure that the clearance between moving parts is always larger than 0.375 inch or smaller than 0.210 inch.

 

 

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