Next week for five days, manufacturers, testing labs, regulators and a few consumer advocates will meet in suburban Philadelphia to discuss standards for juvenile products — cribs, strollers, high chairs and many others. This is the twice-annual meeting of the ASTM International subcommittees on juvenile products. Each product type group meets to review changes to the standard, analyze incident data to look for injury trends or possible design flaws, and — because of the CPSIA — discuss developing each voluntary standard into a document on which CPSC can base the new mandatory standards.

This month, the group will be finalizing the first standard for sling infant carriers and holding the first meeting of a group to develop a standard for crib mattresses. KID has been participating in the ASTM process since 2000. One of only a handful of consumer representatives, we sometimes have to work to get our voice heard, but have seen progress in the decade we have worked on ASTM standards. We urge other consumer organizations or advocates to consider joining ASTM and adding your voice to the process.
The voluntary standard setting activities of ASTM will benefit greatly from the new public database launching in March 2011. Earlier access to injury data and the ability to look for patterns in injury data that can be addressed through standards will lead to stronger standards that can more nimbly react to incidents. This year’s Nursery Product Report from CPSC showed a jump in emergency room visits linked to juvenile products. That information, combined with the new database will give ASTM the information they need to improve product safety.
Have a product related concern that you would like ASTM to consider? Email KID and we’ll bring that along with us next week.