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13960sew.lab

Mr. Strawn Cathcart
Early Development Company
6135 Park South Dr., Suite 420
Charlotte, NC 28210

Dear Mr. Cathcart:

This responds to your letter concerning the air bag warning label requirement adopted in Standard 213 by a November 27, 1996 final rule (61 FR 60206). I apologize for the delay in responding. The rule requires rear-facing child seats to have a specified label "permanently affixed to the outer surface of the cushion or padding in or adjacent to the area where a child's head would rest, so that the label is plainly visible or easily readable." S5.5.2(k)(4).

You ask whether the standard would permit you to sew one side of the label in the fabric seam in the head area of the child seat cushion. You state that you have tried other methods of permanently affixing the label but each has been unsatisfactory. You state that heat transfer results in an illegible label, due to the uneven surface of woven fabrics. Sewing all four perimeter sides to the surface of the cushion causes wrinkling in the surface of the label, due to the thick foam to which the fabric is laminated, which can make the label difficult to read. You state that sewing one end of the label into the seam eliminates all of these problems.

Our answer is that the label may not be sewn on only one side as you suggest. The air bag warning is, at this time, "the most important issue to communicate to consumers." 61 FR at 60214. NHTSA required the label to be where the child's head rests or adjacent to that area "to ensure that parents see the label each time they place the seat in a vehicle." Id. By virtue of its location and ease of detachment by cutting, tearing or pulling off a single row of stitching, the label you suggest invites removal. As such, we do not believe the label is likely to stay attached during the lifetime of the child restraint in satisfaction of the permanently affixed requirement of S5.5.2 (k)(4).

If you have any further questions, please contact Deirdre Fujita of my staff at (202) 366-2992.

Sincerely,
John Womack
Acting Chief Counsel
ref:213
d.6/26/97