Improving the Safety of Child Frame Carriers

The attraction and desire to maintain an active lifestyle even as a parent has led to the development of child care products designed to be an effective mode to transport a child and to allow the parents to continue their favorite activities. However, not all of these products offer the highest level of safety for children.

One of the products is a “frame child carrier,” which is a tubular frame, either metal or synthetic, covered with a sewn fabric. It is designed to carry a child between 16 to 50 pounds in an upright position facing forward or rear on the caregiver’s back. The carrier closely resembles a backpack, allowing an adult to carry the child for example while hiking. However, a 2005 survey by the American Baby Group showed 32% of new mothers owned a frame child carrier, indicating that it is becoming a more commonly used product for general transportation and not just to enjoy the great outdoors.

While it is important to parents to enjoy their hobbies and activities with their children child safety should remain a high priority. Safety requirements and warnings should accompany specially designed child products such as the frame child carrier. Various injuries can occur with the use of this carrier and similar products. Reported events include closed-head injury, fracture of a leg or the face, lacerations to the head or face, dislocated arms, and abrasions or contusions. The mechanisms of the injuries consisted of falls from the carrier through the leg openings, faulty straps, or instability of the carriers when placed on a surface.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed a regulation to establish safety standards for frame carriers. The standards would include requiring a Notice of Requirement in order to have test laboratories accredited to adequately assess the safety of a child product as well as have more detailed explanation of the grading criteria for the carriers. Assessment of the carriers would especially focus on evaluating the components based on the reported incidents. The rule would provide safety requirements which would help protect all children, which is critical given the increasing popularity of frame carriers for everyday use as well as active lifestyles.

The proposed rule is open for comments from the public through July 30, 2014. For more information on the proposed rule and instructions on how to submit your comments, visit

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CPSC-2014-0011-0001

Yvette Cebrian, MD

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