Bean bag chairs can pose a safety hazard to children and have in the past resulted in the death of children. Traditional bean bag chairs are filled with polystyrene beads which can leak out of bean bag chairs. Additionally, the zippers on some bean bag chairs are easily opened allowing for easy access to the filler. Children are attracted to the filler, breathe it in or eat it and suffocate. Some children have climbed inside the bean bag chairs and have suffocated. If you are considering purchasing a bean bag chair and its zipper opens easily, do not purchase it. If you own a bean bag chair with an easily opened zipper and have children around, you should get rid of it.
Bean Bag Chair Recalls
In the mid-1990’s there were recalls of bean bag chairs with unsafe zippers. The recall came about because of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC is an Independent Federal Regulatory Agency. CPSC works to save lives and keep families safe by reducing the risk of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. They do this by developing voluntary standards with industry, issuing and enforcing mandatory standards or banning consumer products if no feasible standard would adequately protect the public, obtaining the recall of products or arranging for their repair, conducting research on potential product hazards, informing and educating consumers through the media, state and local governments, private organizations, and by responding to consumer inquiries.
From recommendations from the CPSC, industry developed a voluntary standard for bean bag chairs. The standard’s performance requirements, effective in November 1996, modify the bean bag chair’s design to prevent toddlers and young children from opening the zipper. Specifically, chairs intended to be refilled must have a locking zipper that opens only with a special tool. Chairs not intended to be refilled must have a permanently disabled zipper or no zipper. In addition, the requirements include permanent warning labels for bean bag chairs. The label wording differs, depending on whether the chairs can be refilled. Durability testing is also part of the standard. This is intended to ensure that materials, which could tear easily and allow pellets to escape and be inhaled, are not used in manufacturing bean bag chairs.
Safety Features to Look For
If you are considering purchasing a bean bag chair, look for a quality bag that specifically states that it has a double, locking zipper. Other features to consider are double sewn seams and tough, durable fabric. Double sewn seams or flat-felled seams are important because they prevent leaks and stand up to rigorous use. Fabric choice is important because it needs to stand up to wear and tear. Another option is to find a bean bag chair with an inner bag and an outer cover. This provides two layers making the chair tougher and safer.
The last feature to consider is the flammability of the filler. Look for bean bag chairs that meet US flammability standards. The flammability standards ensure that the polystyrene filler will not ignite if exposed to flame.
Bean bag chairs are fantastic for their comfort and convenience. They are the perfect lounger for young and old alike. They do have their challenges though so be aware and make an educated choice when you purchase a bean bag chair. It is important to ensure the bean bag chair you own or are purchasing is safe for your family.