Government of Canada proposes new regulations for playpens
Proposed regulations would strengthen requirements for playpens to better protect infants and young children from potential injury or death
April 21, 2017 Ottawa, ON Health Canada
Playpens are intended to provide a safe playing environment for infants and young children. However, over the years, playpen designs have evolved and there are safety hazards associated with certain designs, including the use of accessories, such as change tables and other sleep accessories.
While these changes may appear convenient to parents, there are risks involved, including 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.
Following consultation with provincial and territorial governments, Health Canada is proposing to replace the current requirements for playpens under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, with the new Playpens Regulations. The proposed regulations were developed to help address identified safety issues and align the majority of the Canadian requirements with those in the U.S.
The proposed Playpens Regulations also better align with the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations, which came into force on December 29, 2016. The Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations contain improved safety requirements for products marketed or intended for children’s sleep, such as cribs, cradles and bassinets, as well as sleep accessories that attach to these products.
The Government of Canada encourages Canadians to review the proposed new regulations and to submit feedback to Health Canada by July 6, 2017.
The best place for an infant or young child to sleep is always a crib, cradle or bassinet. Health Canada continues to remind parents and caregivers that playpens should not be used for unsupervised sleep. The Department also recommends that parents and caregivers always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly and use.
"When parents purchase a playpen, they should have confidence that it will provide a safe environment for their child. The proposed changes will further strengthen safety requirements for these products in order to better protect infants and young children."
Minister of Health
“As an organization dedicated to injury prevention and saving lives, Parachute supports these proposed new requirements. The stricter standards that Health Canada has introduced today will offer parents and caregivers better peace of mind when using products that children play and interact with on a daily basis.”
Interim CEO, Parachute
The proposed regulations include:
- additional requirements and test methods to address unintentional folding or collapse of the playpen’s top rails, and
- the introduction of requirements and test methods for playpen accessories, including accessories intended for unsupervised infant sleep.
Between 1990 and September 2016, the Department received 156 reports of incidents associated with playpens and their accessories. These incident reports included 10 deaths, 1 serious injury, 31 minor injuries, and 114 incidents without injury.
Between 1995 and October 2016, Health Canada negotiated 19 voluntary recalls with industry that were related to playpens. Eight of these related to entanglement, six to side-rail collapse and five to playpen accessories.
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
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