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Published on 1st September, 2017
by Technical Services

Standards applicable to the sale of childcare (furniture) products in the UK

At a glance:

The following is a summary of some of the products and standards relating to the manufacture, specification and sale of furniture and related products designed or intended for use by children in the UK.


Highlights:

Products covered in this article:

  • Bunk beds
  • Bed guards
  • Chair mounted seats
  • Changing units and convertible changing units
  • Children’s furniture (bedroom, storage, desks etc.)
  • Children’s beds
  • Cots & folding cots
  • Cribs & cradles
  • High chairs
  • Carry cots, moses baskets and stands
  • Play pens
  • Reclined, rocking and bouncing cradles
  • Safety gates and barriers
  • Table mounted chairs
  • Upholstered childcare products

Following the “Red Tape Challenge” undertaken by the UK government in 2012, a number of UK Statutory Instruments or Regulations relating to children’s products were revoked including the Bunk Bed (Entrapment Hazard)(Safety) Regulations 1987 and the Stands for Carry Cots (Safety) (Revocation) Regulations 1996.

This did not mean that the safety of these and other children’s products went unregulated, as these products are still covered by the European General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC.

This European Directive states that no product shall be supplied or placed on the market unless that product is safe.

It is the responsibility of the producer, manufacturer, importer or retailer to show that reasonable steps have been taken to ensure a product is safe when considering not only the intended use but also the foreseeable use of the product itself.

One means of demonstrating this is to conduct regular product testing to a recognised European, national or international standard or industry specification which contains strength, durability or general safety requirements.

Bunk beds

BS EN 747-1:2012+A1:2015 and BS EN 747-2:2012+A1:2015 – Furniture – Bunk beds for domestic use - Safety requirements (part 1) and test methods (part 2).

This European standard covers strength, durability and general safety (including entrapment hazards) of bunk beds and what are termed as high sleeper beds, where the top surface of the bed is 60cm or more from the ground. The standard is intended to cover products used in both a domestic and non-domestic setting.

Bed guards

BS 7972:2001+A1:2009 – Safety requirements and test methods for children’s bed guards for domestic use

This British standard is used to assess the structural integrity and general safety of bed guards that are intended to be fitted to children’s or full sized beds.

Chair mounted seats

BS EN 16120: 2012 + A2: 2016 Chair Mounted Seats - Specification & Test methods

This revised European standard contains safety requirements and test methods for chair mounted seats designed and intended for use on an adult chair, otherwise known as booster seats (not for use in vehicles).

Changing units and convertible changing units

BS EN 12221:2008+A1:2013 and BS EN 12221-2:2008+A1:2013 – Changing units for domestic use - Safety requirements (part 1) and test methods (part 2).

This European standard includes both general safety requirements and structural performance tests and can be applied to both freestanding and cot-top mounted changing units as well as combination units including additional features such as bathing stations.

Where the changing unit is removable, for example a top surface or rails on a drawer or other storage unit, further testing should be considered.

Children’s furniture (bedroom, storage, desks etc.)

Whilst there are no standards currently that are specific to children’s furniture in general, FIRA has developed a suite of standards for children’s furniture with the Furniture Retail Quality Group which may be used.

FIRA/FRQG C001: 2016 – General Safety Requirements

FIRA/FRQG C002: 2016 – Seating: Requirements for strength, stability and durability

FIRA/FRQG C003: 2016 - Tables and desks: Requirements for strength, stability and durability

FIRA/FRQG C004: 2016 - Storage furniture – Requirements for strength, stability and durability

Children’s beds

BS 8509:2008+A1:2011 Children’s beds for domestic use. Safety Requirements and test methods.

This British standard includes strength, durability and general safety requirements that are applied to convertible cot beds and toddler beds for children up to 4 years of age.

Cots & folding cots

BS EN 716-1: 2017 and BS EN 716-2: 2017 – Furniture – Children’s cots and folding cots for domestic use - Safety requirements (part 1) and test methods (part 2).

This recently revised European standard covers strength, durability and general safety of cots and folding cots (including travel cots) for domestic use.

Cribs & cradles

BS EN 1130-1:1997 AND BS EN 1130-2:1996– Furniture – Cribs and cradles for domestic use - Safety requirements (part 1) and test methods (part 2).

This European standard is applied to swinging, rocking or gliding cribs as well as static cribs and cradles and includes tests for strength, durability and general safety. It is currently under revision.

High chairs

BS EN 14988: 2017- Children’s high chairs. Safety requirements and test methods

This recently updated standard, originally in 2 parts, includes general safety, strength and durability requirements for highchairs and convertible highchairs for both domestic and non-domestic use. Where the highchair may be converted into other products for example a chair and desk, further testing should be carried out.

Carry cots, moses baskets and stands

BS EN 1466: 2014 - Carry cots and stands - Safety requirements and test methods

Despite its title, this European standard applies to not only carry cots but also to similar handled products and stands including moses baskets and wooden or metal, static, rocking or gliding stands that may be used with them. The standard includes requirements for general safety and strength when considering both the carrying and potentially sleeping functions of these items.

Play pens

BS EN 12227:2010 – Playpens for domestic use - Safety requirements and test methods

A European standard combining both safety requirements and structural performance tests intended to address the safety and durability of the product. These types of items are often similar in design, constructions and potentially foreseeable use as a travel cot. If an item can be used as either a playpen or a travel cot both BS EN 716 and BS EN 12227 should be applied.

Reclined, rocking and bouncing cradles

BS EN 12790:2009 Reclined cradles

This European standard can be applied to rocking, reclining, bouncing or static cradles and contains requirements for general safety and durability. It does not apply to door mounted or framed bouncers, in which a child can bounce up and down whilst in a seated position, which are covered by BS EN 14036.

Safety gates and barriers

BS EN 1930:2011 Safety barriers – Safety requirements and test methods

This European product performance standard containing both structural tests and safety requirements for gates and barriers that are intended to be mounted in a doorway. For combination products that convert from a door barrier or gate into a playpen, both BS EN 1930 and BS EN 12227 should be considered.

Table mounted chairs

BS EN 1272:2017 Table mounted chairs. Safety requirements and test methods.

This recently revised European standard contains strength, durability and safety requirements for small chairs which may be attached to a table surface during activity or meal times.

Upholstered childcare products

The UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended) also apply to the majority of chidcare products where those childcare products contain upholstery.

Whilst it may seem obvious to apply the Regulations to scaled down versions of adult furniture such as child sized arm chairs or sofas, other products such as highchair seat units, reclined or rocking cradles, table mounting or chair mounted seats, moses baskets, playpens or travel cots may also be subject to the Regulations if they contain upholstery. This can include any upholstered liners that are sold with the products.

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