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Dangerous household product prompts new safety specifications.

Because of the vulnerability of babies, people from West Virginia and all other states should be aware of the dangers baby cradles and bassinets can pose. This dangerous household product was the subject of discussions recently. These discussions prompted the setting of new standards in the manufacturing of cradles and bassinets.

The commission monitoring the safety of consumer products reported 71 incidents between January 2012 and March 2013. Included in these statistics were 38 fatalities. The tragic suffocation suffered by a 3-month-old baby incited action to develop a mattress that will eliminate the possibility of suffocation in infants. A segmented mattress was developed and tested successfully to not pose this hazard.

Defined as small beds for specific use by infants up to the age of 5 months, cradles should not be used once the baby reaches a certain stage. Once babies are able to push themselves up onto a hands and knees position, they should no longer be using cradles. At this stage the babies are at danger of falling out of the cradle.

After consultations with various experts in the field and consumer groups, the decision was made to add some modifications to the voluntary standards. These would serve to reduce the threat of harmful injuries connected with these products already. The modifications would deal with the hazards not sufficiently addressed when setting the voluntary standard. The modifications added to the safety standards of these products included various improvements.

A better explanation of the uses of the bassinet and cradle will be required in the future, and new criteria have been set for the tests to pass or fail the flatness test of the mattress. Previously the products were tested by using an infant dummy, but the new requirement is the use of a newborn dummy. West Virginia residents may wish to take note of these improvements to the testing procedures of this potentially dangerous household product. When such a product puts a person in harm's way, action can be taken against the company responsible.

Source: Courthouse News Service, Deaths Prompt Standards for Bassinets, Philip A. Janquart, Oct. 28, 2013

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