Parents who are expecting and in the market for a new high chair might want to wait until next year to make their purchase if they’re able. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved new federal safety standards for high chairs that will go into effect in June 2019.
The new federal standards will require more rearward stability, which would make it harder for a child to fall over if they push against something. They’ll also require warning labels that are clearly visible when the chair is in use. The warning will be there to remind parents about the potential risks of skull fractures and severe injuries that can happen if a child falls out of the high chair. Chairs will also need to have two separate bounded openings for a baby’s legs to prevent suffocation as a result of poor positioning. A three-point restraint system will also be required, although a number of manufacturers of high chairs already have this feature.
Between January 2011 and September 2017 a total of 1,842 incident reports related to high chairs were made to the CPSC. These reports included 271 injuries. CPSC’s Electronic Injury Surveillance System also shows from 2015-2016 an estimated 18,500 high chair-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms.
Most of the cases were from falls when a child attempted to climb in or out of their high chair. In some cases, the chair tipped over when a child pushed back or rocked back and forth while seated.
These standards will only apply to any new high chair for sale after June 2019. Keep that in mind if you are thinking about buying a used high chair from a friend or at a yard sale. The older chairs may not meet these safety standards. Restaurants will likely take some time before they phase out their older high chairs, so you may not see new high chairs right away.
If you are expecting a baby arriving in the summer of 2019 it might be a good idea to hold off on buying your high chair until after these new safety requirements go into effect.