(41) , Safety Standard for Infant Bath Tubs.

Babies have suffered head injuries falling from infant tubs.

Federal Register | Safety Standard for Infant Bath Tubs

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  • Staff is aware that 28 of the 53 “product failure” incidents involved bath hammocks or slings. Staff and ASTM are working to investigate how the observed risks of bath slings should be addressed. In addition, ASTM formed two task groups to address the risks of bath slings. One group is developing performance requirements for infant slings that can only be used with infant bath tubs, which will be addressed in the infant bath tub standard. A second group is developing requirements for bath slings that are used separately or as tub accessories, which will be addressed under a new, separate standard.

    Based on research relating to the efficacy of warnings and instructions, staff believes that these changes will help capture and maintain caregiver attention, personalize the tone of the warnings, be simpler to comprehend than the current warnings, and provide consistency with the warnings regarding baby bath seats, a similar product. These changes, plus the new required warning of the risk of falls, may result in increased caretaker comprehension of, and compliance with, product warnings and instructions. The Commission believes that these changes constitute more stringent warning and labeling requirements than the current standard, and will further reduce the risk of injury to infants and toddlers associated with infant bath tubs.

  • A number of incidents involved tub locking mechanisms that failed or broke. Staff believes the current standard for latch mechanism testing in ASTM F2670-13, section 7.1.2., which requires that latches be tested more than 2,000 cycles, is appropriately stringent. However, staff also has observed that some complex locking and latching mechanisms are difficult to test within the required “cycle time” of 12 cycles per minute. Staff has worked with ASTM to find an alternate method of conducting this test to make testing results for infant bath tubs more accurate and consistent. Staff has determined that requiring the 2,000-cycle testing to be conducted on a “continuous basis” will allow more designs of infant bath tubs to be tested consistently and accurately to the standard of section 7.1.2. Moreover, ASTM is currently considering adopting the change that staff suggested to ASTM, but has not yet done so.

    The Commission now proposes to adopt ASTM F2670-13 with modifications to some of the warnings and instructions for infant bath tubs. In particular, the Commission proposes the following modifications:

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  • The static load testing requirement and the testing for resistance to collapse in the infant bath tub standard is intended to address the issue of breaks. Infant bath tubs are required to support a load of 50 lbs. (22.7 kg.), or three times the maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer, whichever is greater, for 20 minutes. Staff believes that the current load testing provides an appropriate level of protection from breakage. However, staff also has determined that the current testing standard, which mandates the use of a 6″ x 6″ block of high-density polyethylene to provide the required weight, may damage some infant bath tub designs, which could create additional risks. Staff recommended to ASTM that the required polyethylene block be rounded on the corners; but ASTM decided to replace the block with a bag of steel shot for static load testing. This matter was addressed at an ASTM public meeting, was balloted and approved by ASTM, and will be added to the next published edition of the ASTM standard. The Commission believes that including this modification in the NPR will augment product safety by improving the accuracy, consistency, and repeatability of static load testing.

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Section 8.4 would be changed to require warning statements on infant bath tubs and infant bath tub retail packaging to have prescribed warning language, and for the warning statements to be permanent, conspicuous, in contrasting color(s), bordered, and in type larger than currently required. Section 8.4 will also require additional warnings for infant bath tubs with suction cups. The changes would be accompanied by exemplar warnings.