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For parents of infant children, an infant swing can sometimes be a real life saver—buying you precious time (and maybe some peace and quiet) to get things done around your home or give your undivided attention to other children. But as with many products for infants and young children, there are always safety concerns when using infant swings. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that between they received reports of 351 swing-related incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2012. Two of those were fatal and 24 more resulted in injuries.

Fortunately, this week, the CPSC took an important step towards making those products safer. In a press release from Tuesday, the Commission announced that it has approved new federal safety standards for infant swings. The new guidelines don’t go into effect until May of 2012. But, if you are expecting or you have a new baby at home with you, here’s what you should be expecting when you purchase an infant swing:

  • a stronger, more explicit warning label to prevent slump-over deaths. The warning advises consumers to use a swing in the most reclined position until an infant is 4 months old and can hold up its head without help;
  • a stability test that prevents the swing from tipping over;
  • a test that prevents unintentional folding;
  • tests on restraint systems, which are intended to prevent slippage and breakage of the restraints during use;
  • the cradle swing surface to remain relatively flat, while in motion, and while at rest;
  • electrically-powered swings to be designed to prevent battery leakage and overheating.;
  • toy mobiles to be designed to ensure that toys do not detach when pulled;
  • swings with seats angles greater than 50 degrees to have shoulder strap restraints; and
  • dynamic and static load requirements to ensure that the infant swing can handle specified loads without breaking.

We know that safety is something that is always on a parent’s mind, perhaps especially so with newborns and infants. These new standards should help put your mind a little bit more at ease when using infant swings.

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