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Consumer Products Safety Standards Consumer products safety standards are necessary for the testing and evaluation of a wide variety of consumer products. ASTM International (ASTM) has developed consumer products safety standards for an assortment of products such as playground equipment, swimming pools and spas, baby cribs, soccer goals, chairs, candles, toddler beds, children’s toys, toddler carriers, trampolines, and more. These standards serve as a guideline for manufacturers to use for the assurance of quality and safety.

There are several consumer safety groups that assist in educating consumers about product safety, including the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Kids in Danger (KID), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Their goal is to educate consumers about potential health risks that are associated with the use of thousands of products constantly used in our daily lives.

These groups work closely with many others in order to assure the implementation of mandatory standards that were determined by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (PDF link). For example: Congress mandated that the ASTM F963 Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, become a mandatory standard for the improvement of toy safety.

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Playground Equipment Safety Standards Playground Equipment Safety Standards

Several Playground Equipment Safety Standards have been developed by ASTM International (ASTM), defining safety specifications for playground equipment in an effort to make playgrounds safer for children. These standards address safety specifications for home and public playground equipment, trampolines, soccer goals, and inflatable play devices.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) more than 200,000 children 14 years of age and younger are treated for playground related injuries in hospital emergency rooms across the United States each year. These injuries ranged from bruises, lacerations, fractures, and sprains. These safety issues have proven to be costly in the dearest manner possible. Furthermore, in 1995, playground-related injuries among children ages 14 and younger cost over $1.2 billion.

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) is a leader in advocating for the creation of safe public play environments for children and providing resources and information for safe outdoor play in the United States. They serve as advocates for children on issues that relate to playground safety before government and regulatory agencies. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is also committed to protecting children from sustaining injuries on the playground. The CPSC has written a handbook (PDF link) that contains important safety information for those who purchase, install, and maintain public playground equipment.


Safety Standards for Pools, Spas, and Bathing Safety Standards for Pools, Spas, and Bathing

Pool and Spa standards, developed by ASTM International (ASTM), define safety specifications for pool alarms, vacuum release systems, safety covers, suction vent systems, and drowning prevention. These standards are intended to improve safety measures involving pools and spas.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 2007-2009 there was an average of 390 pool or spa-related drownings involving children younger than 15 years old; nearly 75% of those reported fatalities involved children under the age of five. Additionally, from 2009 to 2011 there was an average of 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries per year for children younger than 15.

The CPSC created a national public education campaign, called Pool Safely, which works with partners around the country in an effort to reduce child drownings, near-drowning submersions, and entrapment incidents in swimming pools and spas. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the USA Swimming Foundation have also partnered with the Pool Safely Campaign in order to teach children how to swim and educate parents and communities about the importance of learning to swim.


Consumer Product Safety Standards for Scooters, Carts, Guns Consumer Product Safety Standards for Scooters, Carts, Guns

Safety standards for scooters, carts, and guns address the basic requirements for the design, performance, manufacturing, and labeling of a variety of scooters, carts, and guns. These standards address the safety principles for go karts, non-powered and powered scooters, shopping carts, non-powder guns, pocket bikes, and more. ASTM International (ASTM) has developed various standards that address safety issues with scooters, carts and guns.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has conducted research relating to injuries that were sustained due to safety issues with scooters, carts, and guns. They found that an estimated 12,600 children under 15 years old were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with go-karts in 1999 (PDF link). Also, an estimated 10,015 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with scooters (PDF link). Two thirds of the injured persons were under 15 years of age and 60% were male. Less than half of the victims were wearing helmets at the time of the injury. Furthermore, an estimated 23,892 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with non-powder guns (PDF link).

The CPSC has created safety alerts that provide helpful information and tips about how to use BB guns (PDF link) and scooters (PDF link) safely in order to further educate consumers about these potentially harmful products. The CPSC has also created a detailed report (PDF link) that provides analysis of hazard patterns associated with Go-Kart related injuries.


Consumer Product Safety Standards for Children Consumer Product Safety Standards for Children's Furniture

Children's Furniture standards, developed by ASTM International (ASTM), define safety specifications for cribs, changing tables, booster seats, bunk beds, toy chests, bassinets, bedding, bed rails, and more. These standards establish the minimum requirement for the design of each type of furniture in order to produce safer Children’s furniture.

Kids in Danger (KID) is a non-profit organization that advocates for safer Children’s furniture for children and educates the public about dangerous products. KID is determined to create a safer environment for children and to inform parents and caregivers about unsafe and recalled products. KID works with several consumer advocates to monitor the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety improvement Act (PDF link), which required manufacturers to improve safety design and testing of consumer products. One result of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was that it banned cribs with drop-down sides that can trap children when they malfunction.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) called for improved safety standards due to the high number of injuries among children as a result of unsafe Children’s furniture. For example, an estimated 77,300 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with children’s furniture and products. About 73% of these reported injuries were directly associated with infant carriers, cribs, strollers and high chairs.


Consumer Product Safety Standards for Nursery Products Consumer Product Safety Standards for Nursery Products

Safety standards for nursery products determine safety specifications and performance requirements for infant walkers, slings, toddler carriers, infant bath seats, baby monitors, and booster seats. ASTM International (ASTM) has developed several Nursery Products standards, which are intended to minimize the risk of injuries to children.

Kids in Danger (KID) is a non-profit organization that informs parents and caregivers about the most recent news related to children’s product safety. KID works with federal, state, and local governments in an effort to improve children’s product safety standards and recall procedures.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has conducted research relating to injuries that were sustained due to safety issues with these products. Here is what the CPSC has found that there have been at least 1,700 high chair related injuries among children under the age of 5 since 2009 and that over 3.1 million high chairs have been recalled since 2007. Additionally, there have been at least 15,800 car seat/carrier related injuries among children under the age of 5 since 2009, and that over 2 million infant carriers have been recalled since 2007. Furthermore, there have been at least 13 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers over the last 20 years.


Safety Standards for Toys, Lighters and Other Consumer Products Safety Standards for Toys, Lighters and Other Consumer Products

Developed by ASTM International (ASTM), numerous standards address safety specifications for products such as Toys, Lighters, and more. These standards primarily focus on the safety design features and requirements for the selected products in order to protect consumers from potential safety hazards.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 262,300 toy-related injuries in 2011 (PDF Link). About 74% of these injuries were sustained by children younger than 15 years of age. In 2008, President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety improvement Act (PDF link). This piece of legislation ruled that the Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, ASTM F963-11, would become mandatory.

The CPSC has also created several toy safety publications for consumers, including a consumer’s guide for selecting suitable toys for children ages 5 and under (PDF link) and ages 6-12 (PDF link). The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has conducted a survey about toy safety hazards called Trouble in Toyland (PDF link). This publication informs consumers of safety issues with toys that are currently on store shelves and provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children.


Safety standards for Footwear and Outerwear Safety standards for Footwear and Outerwear

Footwear and outerwear standards determine safety specifications and performance requirements for protective footwear and children’s outerwear. ASTM International (ASTM) is a key standards developer for consensus standards and test methods related to protective footwear. ASTM has developed several footwear and outerwear standards, which are intended to minimize the risk of sustaining an injury.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has assisted in the implementation of new federal safety rules for drawstrings on Children’s outwear. According to the CPSC, 26 children have died when drawstrings on their garment became entangled on slides, doors, or other objects. ASTM has developed a standard for children’s upper outerwear, ASTM F1816-97(2009), in order to prevent such injuries and deaths.

ASTM footwear standards define minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and classification for protective footwear. These standards are intended to protect users from electrical shock, puncture, abrasion, and more. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a guide for United States Footwear Compliance Requirements (PDF link) that defines the regulations and specifications pertaining to footwear.


Safety Standards for Candles Safety Standards for Candles

Candle safety standards are important for the prevention of house fires. ASTM International (ASTM) has developed several candle safety standards that outline candle safety specifications for fire safety and labeling for candle manufacturers and users to refer to in order to prevent house fires.

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), on average there are 42 home fires caused by candles reported every day. Also, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has reported that fire departments responded to an estimated 11,640 home structure fires that were started by candles. These fires caused 126 deaths, 953 injuries, and $438 million in direct property damage. Potentially avoidable, candle safety standards do their part in reducing these numbers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has previously worked with the ASTM International Subcommittee F15.45 for Candles and Candle Products to develop safety requirements that address fires associated with candles. The subcommittee has formed task groups that focus on specific issues, such as terminology, labeling, smoking, fire safety, wicks, and more, in order to develop voluntary standards.


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