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August 27, 2013

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Children’s furniture fails quality checks

More than half of children’s furniture checked by the city’s market watchdog failed quality tests for design flaws, the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said yesterday, adding that they also posed safety hazards and did not carry appropriate description.

The bureau checked 24 batches of furniture for children between the ages of three and 14 years. About 13 batches failed the safety criteria in design and did not specify the intended age group of children on the package.

Eight batches were found to have sharp edges — banned under the national standard on children’s furniture introduced last August — or lacked safety measures that could lead to injuries.

The General Technical Requirements for Children’s Furniture clarifies the limits on harmful substances in children’s furniture and specifies safety criteria in design.

Requirements include that edges should be round; glass should not be used below 1.6 meters in cabinets; and that wall fittings be installed on cabinet products that are higher than 60 centimeters. These apply to furniture for children between the ages of three and 14.

Some of these substandard furniture, including cabinets and desks, were made by Shanghai Dinhong Furniture Co Ltd, Shanghai Shengfang Furniture Co Ltd and Shanghai Dinxiang Furniture Co Ltd. One batch was sold by Shanghai HomeMart.

“Sharp edges and an absence of warnings are the major problems in children’s furniture,” said Lu Wei, an official with the National Furniture Quality Testing Center.

Bureau officials said safety should be the priority of parents when they buy children’s furniture, followed by function and appearance.

The furniture used by kids should contain no dangerous items and sharp corners and should have holes in closets to meet the ventilation requirement of the national standard.

Parents should check moving components such as screws and hinges of the furniture regularly to ensure they are fixed tightly, officials reminded.



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