Soft Infant and Toddler Carrier Types:
A “soft infant and toddler carrier” is a product, normally of sewn fabric construction, which is designed to contain a full term infant to a toddler, generally in an upright position, in close proximity to the caregiver. Soft infant and toddler carriers are normally worn by the caregiver with a child positioned in the carrier and the weight of the child and carrier suspended from one or both shoulders of the caregiver. These products may be worn on the front, side, or back of the caregiver's body, with the infant either facing towards or away from the caregiver. Typically, children are carried in soft infant and toddler carriers on the front of a caregiver, however some products can be configured to carry a child upright on a caregiver's front, back or hip.
Soft infant and toddler carriers are available in structured types that contain straps and waist belts that connect to the seat area and other carrier components with buckles, straps, and mechanical fasteners, and non-structured types consist of a flat, textile center with waist straps and very long upper straps that wrap around the caregiver and are secured by typing the ends of the straps.
Slings (including wraps) and framed backpack carriers are not classed as soft infant and toddler carriers.
Hazards Associated with Soft Infant and Toddler Carriers:
The CPSC has identified a number of hazards associated with the use of soft infant and toddler carriers, including:
- Injuries resulting from the caregiver slipping, tripping or falling
- Issues related to the integral structure or fit of the carrier (eg. leg circulation-related injuries to the infant)
- Design issues (eg. infant overheating caused by use of a carrier insert)
- Strap issues (eg. infants falling from carriers due to straps breaking)
- Issues with stitching or seams coming undone
Legal Background and Compliance Enforcement:
Soft infant and toddler carriers are required to comply with the ASTM F2236-14 standard that became effective on September 29, 2014; as well as federal rule 16 CFR part 1107 (Testing and Labeling Pertaining to Product Certification) and 16 CFR part 1112 (Requirements Pertaining to Third Party Conformity Assessment Bodies).
Under 16 CFR part 1107, manufacturers of soft infant and toddler carriers are required to certify, based on third party testing conducted by CPSC-accredited laboratories, that products comply with all applicable safety rules. According to 16 CFR part 1112, the CPSC has published a notice of requirements (NOR) for the accreditation of third party conformity assessment bodies for soft infant and toddler carriers.
The name and country location of third-party laboratories meeting 16 CFR part 1112 can be searched at www.cpsc.gov/labsearch