August 23, 2012

US Laws and Standards Concerning Baby Changing Stations

US laws and standards concerning baby changing stations


Baby changing stations need to comply with two US federal laws, five standards, and state laws. The two US laws include American with Disabilities Act and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The standards include ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, ANSI Z535.4 Product Safety Signs and Labels, ASTM F 2285 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Diaper Changing Tables for Commercial Use, and ASTM G 21 Standard Practice for Determining Resistance of Synthetic Polymeric Materials to Fungi.

This document discusses the laws and standards concerning baby changing stations. With regard to the state laws, it should be noted that this section examines only the laws in California and New York State.



Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA contains requirements for baby changing stations that should be satisfied by baby changing station manufacturers. This section discusses the documents required for certification of baby changing stations, the warranty that a manufacturer of baby changing stations needs to provide, the requirement concerning the manufacturer of baby changing stations, performance requirements for all baby changing stations, performance requirements for oval baby changing stations, performance requirements for horizontal baby changing stations, and performance requirements for vertical baby changing stations.

Documents required for certification of baby changing stationsAmericans With Disabilities Act Logo

Companies willing to certify a baby changing station need to provide a copy of certified test data of the unit, including:

  1. test results for static weight strength,
  2. a certificate of coverage under manufacturer’s liability policy,  
  3. test results indicating that the product contains no hazardous chemicals reportable under SARA (313) toxic release program,  
  4. test results for pinch points,  
  5. test results indicating that baby changing stations comply with ASTM F2285 Consumer Safety Performance Standard for Commercial Baby Changing Stations, 
  6. test results indicating that plastic used in the manufacturing of baby changing stations comply with FDA 21 CFR 177.1520 3.1.


Warranty that a manufacturer of baby changing stations needs to provide

ADA obliges the manufacturers to provide a standard five year warranty and replacement insurance.


The requirement concerning the manufacturer of baby changing stations

The units of baby changing stations shall be manufactured by certified manufacturer. 


Performance requirements for all baby changing stations

In order to comply with ADA, all baby changing stations need to comply with 8 requirements, namely:

  1. units should be constructed from high-density polyethylene, which prohibits the retention of moisture and odors, 
  2. units should contain reinforced steel rods aiming to increase unit stability (baby changing stations),  
  3. gas shocks should be completely hidden for safer bed retraction preventing injuries to hands and fingers (baby changing stations),
  4. products should be suitable for processing by any approved recycling facility,  
  5. units  should be provided with the necessary hardware to install on most wall types, 
  6. units should be provided with a self-adhesive sign for installation on restroom door,
  7. units should be provided with a mounting template with instructions written in English and Spanish, 
  8. units should be provided with numerous color choices to accent building’s internal decor.


Performance requirements for oval baby changing stations

In order to comply with ADA, the units of oval baby changing stations need to comply with 14 requirements. In particular, the units should be: 

  1. oval in design,
  2. proven to withstand at least 300 lbs of static weight, 
  3. equipped with a safety strap,
  4. horizontal in design to prevent child from rolling of bed,
  5. contain a concave changing surface to ensure child’s comfort and protection, 
  6. provided with dual dispensers for bed liners and/or wet wipes,
  7. provided with instructions containing full color universal characters and written in English, German, French, and Spanish to facilitate multilingual understanding, contrasting in color be molded into unit to prevent peeling, fading, or vandalism,  
  8. protruded no more than 4” from the wall in their closed position and less than 20” when fully open, 
  9. adaptable to 16” or 24” stud wall construction with punch-out pre-drilled holes,
  10. equipped with a molded-in Baby bag hook and utility shelf for customer convenience, 
  11. provided with all hardware for installation in most wall types,
  12. designed to allow for easy passage around unit and contain no corners to injure customers,
  13. contain a manufactured date molded permanently into the unit and visible when the unit is closed, 
  14. contain a manufacturer’s item number molded permanently into unit and visible when mounted.
The Koala KB200 complies with all these regulations and is the most popular diaper changing station sold today.


    Performance requirements for vertical baby changing stations

    The units of vertical baby changing stations should comply with 13 requirements, namely, (1) 

    1. be vertical in design, (2) 
    2. comply with ADA 4.27.4 Operation with One Hand or Closed Fist, (3) 
    3. be equipped with a safety belt,
    4. contain an unit bed that is horizontal in design to prevent child from rolling off bed, 
    5. contain a concave changing surface to ensure  child’s comfort and protection,
    6. be provided with dispenser for bed liners,
    7. be provided with instructions containing full color universal characters and written in English, German, French, and Spanish to facilitate multilingual understanding, contrasting in color and be molded into unit to prevent peeling, fading, or vandalism, 
    8. contain a manufactured date molded permanently into the unit and visible when the unit is installed, 
    9. contain a manufacturer’s item number molded permanently into unit and visible when mounted, 
    10. protrude no more than 6” from the wall in its closed position and less than 33.25” when fully open,
    11. be adaptable to 16” stud wall construction with punch-out predrilled holes,
    12. be equipped with a molded-in Baby bag hook, 
    13. be provided with all hardware for installation in most wall types.


    Performance requirements for horizontal baby changing stations

    Units of horizontal baby changing stations need to comply with 13 requirements, namely: 

    1. be horizontal in design,
    2. comply with ADA 4.27.4 Operation with One Hand or Closed Fist, 
    3. be equipped with a genuine Safe-Strap® safety belt,
    4. be horizontal in design to prevent child from rolling off bed,
    5. contain a concave changing surface to ensure child’s comfort and protection,
    6. be equipped with dual dispensers for bed liners,
    7. be provided with instructions containing full color universal characters and written in English, German, French and Spanish to facilitate multilingual understanding, contrasting in color and be molded into unit to prevent peeling, fading or vandalism, 
    8. contain a manufactured date molded permanently into the unit and visible when the unit is installed, 
    9. contain a manufacturer’s item number molded permanently into unit and visible when mounted, 
    10. protrude no more than 4” from the wall in its closed position and less than 20.125” when fully open, 
    11. be adaptable to 16” stud wall construction with punch-out predrilled holes,
    12. be equipped with a molded-in Baby bag hook,
    13. be provided with all hardware for installation in most wall types.


    The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA): Conformity with the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) product safety rules, bans, standards and regulations that include applicable chemical compliance requirements

    The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 authorized a variety of new regulations and testing requirements for children’s products and some non-children’s products. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, or retailers of consumer goods, must ensure that all of their products comply with the CPSIA and other laws enforced by the CPSC.


    ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities

    Baby changing stations need also to comply with ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. The aim of this Standard is to make sites, facilities, buildings and elements accessible to and usable by people with physical disabilities.

     The Standard includes:

    1. coordination requirements for the various types of dwelling units, 
    2. technical requirements for Type C (Visitable) Units added,
    3. variable message signs (i.e., gate information in train stations and airports),
    4. better consistency of sign requirements regarding when raised characters and Braille are required,
    5. location of toilet paper dispenser,
    6. requirements for a variety of types of recreational facilities.

     


    ANSI Z535.4  Product Safety Signs and Labels

    ANSI Z535.4 contains performance requirements for the design, application, use, and placement of safety signs and labels that aim to identify potential hazards for persons using, operating, servicing, or in proximity to, a wide variety of products. ANSI Z535.4 Standard is important for product manufacturers because U.S. courts use the Standard as a foundation for “best practice” for product safety labeling. If the concepts presented in ANSI Z535.4 are employed wisely, the outcome should improve product safety and reduce product liability exposure.


    ASTM F 2285 - Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Diaper Changing Tables for Commercial Use.

    ASTM F 2285 establishes safety performance requirements, test methods, and labeling requirements to minimize the hazards to children presented by diaper changing tables as identified in the introduction. The standard applies to diaper changing tables for commercial use. It is intended for use with children up to 50 lbs. However, the Standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of the Standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    ASTM G 21 - Standard Practice for Determining Resistance of Synthetic Polymeric Materials to Fungi.

    The Standard Practice covers determination of the effect of fungi on the properties of synthetic polymeric materials in the form of molded and fabricated articles, tubes, rods, sheets, and film materials. Changes in optical, mechanical, and electrical properties may be determined by the applicable ASTM methods. This Standard Practice does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of the Standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    California

    Entities willing to install baby changing stations in California need to comply with several state laws, including laws concerning hospital installation and seismic compliance bills adopted by the Californian Senate. A detailed list of the requirements can be found at the website of the Californian Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (http://www.oshpd.ca.gov/).

     

    New York State

    The New York State building codes provide designers, code enforcement officials, architects, engineers, contractors with a comprehensive set of requirements for use in New York state. The New York State building codes relevant to baby changing stations include:

    1. Building Code of New York State,
    2. Plumbing Code of New York State, 
    3. Mechanical Code of New York State, 
    4. Fire Code of New York State,
    5. Residential Code of New York State,
    6. Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State,
    7. Fuel Gas Code of New York State, and
    8. Property Maintenance Code of New York State. 

    More information about the New York State building codes can be found at http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/st/ny/st/index.htm .


    Conclusion

    Baby changing stations are a modern convenience that makes changing a baby's diaper easier and safer for parents. Complying with the abovementioned laws and standards is a necessary condition for making the stations accessible to everyone and preventing serious injuries and infections.

     

    Daniel Dimov is an expert in internet law and can be found at www.dimov.pro 

     
    References 
    1.     Americans With Disabilities Act: Federal Register Volume 56, No.144,28 CFR Part 36; Regulations: 4.2.5, 4.4.1, 4.2.6, 4.23.3, 4.23.7, 4.27.4 (horizontal, vertical, and oval baby changing stations), 4.32.3, 4.32.4
     
    2.     ANSI A117.1 – Safety Standards for the Handicapped
     
    3.     U.S. Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (313) – the plastic used in these products contains no “extremely hazardous substances.”
     
    4.     U.S. Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (313) – the plastic used in these products contains no “extremely hazardous substances.”
     
    5.     FDA 21 CFR 177.1520 (c) 3.1 – Use of Olefin polymers
     
    6.     The website of International Code Council concerning ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, http://www.iccsafe.org/Store/Pages/Product.aspx?id=9033S09
     
    7.     Peckham, G., “A Preview of the 2007 ANSI Z535.4 Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels”, http://www.clarionsafety.com/assets/common/pdfs/whitepapers/ansi2007.pdf
     
    8.     The website of ASTM concerning ASTM F2285 04(2010) Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Diaper Changing Tables for Commercial Use, http://www.astm.org/Standards/F2285.htm
    9.     The website of ASTM concerning ASTM G 21 Standard Practice for Determining Resistance of Synthetic Polymeric Materials to Fungi, http://www.astm.org/Standards/G21.htm
    10.  The website of the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC), http://www.cpsc.gov
    <a href="http://www.constructionstate.com/">Construction Directory</a>
    2013/10/28

    Daniel Dimov said:

    Thank you for posting this.

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