New federal safety standards for high chairs become official

Rules changes comes after an estimated 18,500 ER visits for high chair injuries

By Lauren Verno - Consumer investigative reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Federal regulators are introducing new rules to make high chairs safer, whether they're used at home or in public places.

The new rules call for more stability, clear warning labels, a passive crotch restraint and a stronger, three-point restraint system, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The changes follow a wave of high chair-related injuries in recent years. From 2015 through 2016, these injuries resulted in approximately 18,500 emergency room visits, according to CPSC data.

Agency spokesperson Patty Davis said the numbers speak for themselves. She said the most common scenarios that lead to injury involve getting in or out of the chair, or the chair being rocked.

Safety tips for high chairs

  • Make sure the manufacture date is on or after June 19, 2019
  • Always use the safety restraints and make sure they're snug
  • Do not use the chair's try to hold the child in the high chair
  • Keep a close eye on your child while they're using the chair
  • Do not let your child climb into or stand on top of the chair

Source: CPSC

"Kids are either climbing into the high chair, climbing out of the high chair and the high chair tips over, or they're pushing back or rocking back and forth in the high chair and the high chair collapses," she said.

The new rules, approved by the CPSC in June 2018, took effect Wednesday. They cover any newly manufactured or imported high chair, but they do not apply to booster seats or hook-on high chairs.

The changes might be a source of concern for parents, particularly those who are working with a tight budget. Fortunately, you do not have to buy a new chair if you've already got one at home.

"If you have an old high chair, you can continue to use it," Davis said. "However, if you are a new parent, you're looking to buy a high chair, buy one of these new ones that should have a date on it."

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