Countries in the European Union (EU), bound to European Committee for Standardization (CEN/CENELEC) Rules, have introduced a new standard for mattresses used by young children in cots and cribs. The standard, EN 16890: 2017, takes into account the hazards listed in the Decision of the European Commission 2010/372/EU, and can be used as a voluntary standard to show compliance to the General Product Safety Directive.
The scope of EN 16890: 2017 includes mattresses, mattress-bases and toppers, that are used in children's cots, travel cots, cribs and suspended baby beds. The standard is applied to both the domestic and non-domestic use.
The new standard will improve the mattress safety by:
- Listing the requirements on the migration of heavy metals, according to applicable requirements and test methods from the toy safety standard EN 71-3
- Reduce fire hazards but also avoid the use of flame retardants. Flammability tests will be conducted in accordance with EN597-1 using cigarettes, and mattress covers will be tested using toy standard EN 71-2 test method. The flame propagation speed should not exceed 50 mm/s
- Ensuring the mattress size is sufficient for the cot or crib – nominal dimensions are controlled to ensure a maximum tolerance of 10 mm is met
- Preventing entrapment of the body or limbs by a requirement on the gaps between mattress components
- Preventing strangulation by hazards such as cords and loops – length and perimeter are now limited
- Preventing suffocation from plastic sheeting – plastic packaging must have warning text and be of a certain thickness. Plastic decals or labels shall be properly attached
- Protecting young children, who should sleep on flat firm surfaces to prevent suffocation – mattresses must meet requirements for firmness, before and after a durability test that represents the lifetime of the product
- Prevent choking and ingestion from small parts that can become detached from the mattress, including filling. Small parts must resist torque and tension tests and seams and closings must resist normal use and prevent any access to the filling material. The cover textile material, slide fasteners and seams are also tested for strength and slippage
- The standard also includes provisions on shrinkage for removable covers and the absence of sharp edges or points in the product
The new standard also requires that marking and instructions should be in line with product information for cots and cribs, EN 716 and EN 1130, and highlights essential warnings and safety information. It must also be legible to consumers.
The new standard was introduced in May 2017, with all CEN/CENELEC-bound countries
expected to withdraw their previous regulations by November 2017.
Stakeholders should also be aware that in EU Member States where national legislation exists, such as the UK and France, the national legislation will take precedence.
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