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The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has published three new standards designed to improve safety in the children’s sleep environment. Published in August 2018, the new voluntary standards are:

  • EN 16779-1:2018 – children’s cot duvets
  • EN 16780: 2018 – children’s cot bumpers
  • EN 16781: 2018 – children’s sleep bags for use in a cot

The Decision of the European Commission, 2010/372/EU, stated:

“Articles shall not jeopardize the safety or health of children when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the behavior of children.”

This statement defines the safety requirements for children’s products.

CEN’s new voluntary standards include:

  • Requirements on the migration of listed heavy metals, according to applicable requirements and test methods from toy safety standard EN71-3. Formaldehyde content is limited and flame retardants are prohibited
  • Measures to reduce fire hazards while avoiding the use of flame retardants – the product should not produce any surface flash when a flame is introduced
  • Provisions for hygiene: the products must be washable, with no dry cleaning allowed. Traceability and hygiene standards for feather and down are required
  • Requirements on inherently safe design are listed, to prevent:
    • Storage of small objects: no pockets are allowed
    • Access to filling materials: requirements on strength of seams and stitches
    • Finger entrapment and hazards from ischemia: requirements to avoid loose threads, uncut stitches, monofilament threads. Loop labels should not be used, and opening into textile or rigid parts are limited
    • Hazards from slide fasteners: level B (sleep bags) or C (duvets and cot bumpers) are required; as well as provisions to ensure the slide fastener will not harm the skin of the child
    • Requirements to prevent ingestion and suffocation hazards: 3D embellishments such as pompons, tassels, sequins, beads, cords or magnetic components, as well as transfers, plastic or coated fabrics of sufficient size, are not allowed. Other small components will be tested for tensile strength or washing/drying cycles
  • Thermal resistance for duvets and sleep bags: requirements limit the thermal resistance of these products to a maximum level of 0.40 m² K/W and a declaration of the level as well as all useful information related to suitability with clothing and room temperature should be given to the consumers
  • Relevant product information will be required for each product, giving warnings, care instructions, information on size and thermal resistance where relevant, in addition to the general information required by regulation

Each standard also has conditions which are unique to it. These include:

  • Children’s Cot Duvets – EN 16779-1:2018 – children up to 36 months:
    • Maximum dimensions and relevant product information to ensure the duvet will not cover the head of the child
    • Product should not be a combination of separable duvets, unless they are contained within a closed cover
    • No drawstrings or cords to avoid strangulation
  • Children’s Cot Bumpers – EN 16780: 2018:
    • The end of the means to attach the cot bumpers should not be fitted with any 3D embellishment and should be secured from fraying
    • To prevent strangulation hazards, those means of attachment are limited to a functional length of 75 mm, and should be attached to the bumper at the same point
    • As attachment of the cot bumper to the cot can lead to hazards, slide fasteners or touch and close fastener should be positioned external to the cot; adhesive means or suction cups are prohibited
    • The cot bumper must not enable the child to climb out of the cot, horizontal gaps should be avoided to prevent head entrapment hazards, and it should be attached to prevent collapse, or it being drawn into the cot
  • Children’s Sleep Bags – EN 16781: 2018 – used by younger children (approx. 24 months or under):
    • Should not be fitted with a hood, to prevent suffocation hazards, or with legs, to prevent children from walking, and hard objects such as bulky seams should not be present in the back
    • To avoid ingestion and choking hazards two parts, fabric-covered or wooden buttons are not allowed
    • Neck and arm openings should only be fastened by the means of buttons, slide fasteners or metal press fasteners
    • No cords or drawstrings to prevent strangulation and product should not be capable of being attached to the cot or mattress
    • Limited neck opening to prevent ‘submarining’, which can lead to suffocation, and fastening of the opening should resist stresses during use

Stakeholders should also be aware a new draft standard covering safety in removable duvet covers – prEN 16779-2 – is currently being prepared.

The advice for parents remains that young sleeping babies should always rest on horizontal, firm and flat surfaces. In addition, soft objects and loose bedding should always be kept away from the infant to reduce the risk of suffocation, entrapment and strangulation.

However, with concerns over the safety of young children during sleep on the increase in recent years, these voluntary standards provide manufacturers with a clear way to ensure their products are compliant with both European regulations and the requirements of General Products Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/CE.

These standards were made available in August 2018, and National Bodies have until January 31, 2019, to implement them and withdraw any conflicting standards.

SGS Juvenile Products and Textile Services

SGS has a dedicated team of experts able to help businesses develop safe and compliant juvenile products and childcare articles. Their global network of laboratories covers Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, India), Europe (France, Germany, UK), Turkey and the USA. Their laboratories offer physical and mechanical testing, chemical testing, packaging evaluations and inspection services to ensure products comply with all target market regulations.

For more information, please contact:

Valérie Cimetière
Technical Expert – Softline
Tel: +33 6 82 90 18 99

Catherine Follin-Arbelet
International Expert – Juvenile Products
Tel: +33 6 28 50 25 88



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