The Government of Canada has published proposals to strengthen Playpen Regulations, SOR/2016-189. The revisions, issued under Vol 15, No. 16, are a reaction to both requests from playpen manufacturers for greater alignment with US regulations, and reports of incidents resulting from changes to playpen design and use.
If approved the revisions will require a number of major modifications, including:
- New performance requirements and test methods to address unintentional folding or collapse of the playpen’s top rails
- Introduction of performance requirements and test methods for playpen accessories, including accessories intended for unsupervised infant sleep
- Aligning the majority of the Canadian requirements with US requirements
- Aligning with the current Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations (CCBR), SOR/2016-152
- The proposed changes are to further safeguard against injuries and deaths
- The proposal repeals and replaces the current Regulations (C.R.C., c. 932)
Greater alignment with US regulations includes the incorporation, by reference, of the ASTM F406 play yard standard and the ASTM F2194 bassinets and cradles standard.
Canada first introduced regulations for playpens on September 1, 1976. These have evolved several times, with the last major revision being in 1991. Since then, Health Canada has received reports of incidents, some serious, relating to the use of playpens and playpen accessories from consumers, physicians and medical officers. Health Canada reports that between 1990 and September 2016, there were 156 incidents involving playpens – resulting in ten deaths, one serious injury, 31 minor injuries and 114 incidents without injury.
Many of these injuries result from the evolution of playpen design. Health Canada reports that these changes are often designed to make the playpen more user friendly and may appear more convenient to parents. However, risks that have resulted from these changes include potential strangulation in collapsed side rails, getting caught between accessories and the playpen, getting caught in openings in the sides of the playpen, and suffocation on the angled mattress pads of sleep accessories.
The latest revisions were published on April 22, 2017. Stakeholders have until July 6, 2017 to send comments to Health Canada.
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