Comments on proposed order “Requests for Ban or Standard on Adult Portable Bed Rails”

Office of the Secretary
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Room 820
4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814

July 30, 2013

 Comments of the National Research Center for Women & Families

on Proposed Order

“Requests for Ban or Standard on Adult Portable Bed Rails”

[Docket No. CPSC-2013-0022]

The National Research Center for Women & Families is a nonprofit research center staffed by scientists and medical and public health experts who analyze and review research on a range of health issues.

We are writing to urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take strong action to protect consumers from dangerous bed rails by either:

1)      Establishing mandatory safety standards for adult portable bed rails with adequate warning labels, OR

2)      Banning these bed rails if it is determined that they cannot be made safe.

Because of the lack of mandatory safety standards, these products are a serious threat to the safety of consumers. Portable bed rails can cause severe injury, especially for older adults who are confused.  If they want to get out of bed, they may attempt to climb over the rails or fall or catch limbs in the rails. Bed rails can potentially cause death by strangulation or asphyxiation, when older adults roll into the gap between a mattress and a bed rail, are too weak or immobile to move, and cannot breathe properly.

In addition to 155 fatalities caused by adult portable bed rails from January 2003 to September 2012, there were almost 37,000 injuries from these rails treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments from January 2003 to December 2011. Products that are sold and marketed directly to consumers should be regulated adequately to make sure they are safe.

CPSC has worked hard to protect children from unsafe bed rails. It’s time to do the same for vulnerable and frail adults, either by establishing mandatory safety standards or banning these bed rails.


Diana Zuckerman, PhD


National Research Center for Women & Families



Adult Portable Bed Rail-Related Deaths, Injuries, and Potential Injuries: January 2003 to September 2012 Memorandum. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved from (Accessed July 30, 2013).