By Leta Gorman
Yesterday, by a vote of 3 to 2, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") voted against a request by retailers to give them an additional six months to sell their current inventory of baby cribs that do not comply with new safety standards.
The safety standards were a result of the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 ("CPSIA"), which was enacted on August 14, 2008. The CPSIA requires the CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, which includes cribs. According to rules promulgated by the CPSC under the CPSIA, all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The new rules prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware, and require more rigorous testing. The rules, as they stand today, go into effect for retailers and those who rent cribs on June 28, 2011.
The CPSC held a hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C. to determine if retailers should be given the additional six months to sell the inventory, staying off enforcement of the rules until December 28, 2011. After nearly two hours of questions and debate, the commissioners took a vote, concluding the hearing with a 2-2 tie. The final vote, by one absent commissioner, came later in the day and decided the issue — no extension.
The CPSC also discussed the issue of whether or not companies that rent cribs should be allowed an 18-month extension of time to comply with the new rules. The commissioners, 4 in favor and 1 abstaining, decided in favor of the extension to be consistent with the prior extension that the CPSC gave to child care facilities, family child care homes, and places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels.