One of the measures most awaited by mothers of small children has finally taken effect. The seal of the Brazilian National Metrology, Quality and Technology Institute (INMETRO) is now mandatory for high chairs for babies (those used at meal times), with or without trays.

 

This measure is also valid for the models that fit in tables, and also other items that can be used for different functions, including low chairs, strollers, prams, cradles, car seats, and reclining chairs, among others.

 

INMETRO shall be making inspection visits to shops throughout Brazil to ensure use of the seal which brings additional peace of mind to the parents. This is because, in 2009, an inspection was carried out by the organisation after three serious accidents involving the product, and none of the brands analysed was approved by the institution. Because of this very poor performance, feeding chairs were included in the list of products with compulsory certification in Brazil.

 

Seal ensures security of baby chairs

Now, with the seal, there is the guarantee that the baby chair has been approved in terms of several security items, such as the absence of toxic materials and the presence of belts, structure and stability which can avoid accidents. Another point that is taken into account is the method of closing the chair during use, which is particularly important in the case of children under the care of only one person – who needs another hand to hold the baby while the chair is closed.

 

The standards now take effect after 3 years being given so that the manufacturers may adapt the products to the new regulations. Anyone caught selling, importing or distributing baby chairs without the INMETRO seal shall be liable to several kinds of penalties: a warning, seizure of the product, and a fine ranging from BRL 100.00 to BRL 1.5 million, depending on the seriousness of the violation and the size of the company.

 

Accidents and sealless products should be reported

Currently there are 25 certified products. Anyone who notices any product without the INMETRO seal can make a tip-off by calling the Ombudsman or directly on the institution’s website. Accidents that may occur during the use of a feeding chair can also be reported through the INMETRO System for Monitoring of Consumption Accidents (Sinmac).

 

Even so, “this is the type of product that needs the supervision of an adult. Even though the recent changes have made them more secure, the fact is that the child must never be left alone in the chair without supervision”, warns Marcos Borges, the substitute head of the Department for Programmes of Appraisal of Compliance at INMETRO, in an interview to prestigious Brazilian newspaper O Globo. He also says that attention must be stepped up in bars and restaurants, where the chairs are not necessarily certified.