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Infantile Failure – (a.k.a. infant failure mode)

Refers to the known statistical fact that electronic equipment components are most likely to fail within the first 24 to 48 hours of use. Electronic components typically have very low failure rates in general, but when they do fail, the vast majority of them fail in the first few hours of use. There are a variety of factors that come in to play in the manufacturing and assembly of electronic equipment that can cause instability or even failure during initial power up. Many times components that are “stressed” during initial power up, or were already weak, fail after a few hours of use. Statistically, components that get beyond the initial few hours of use are likely to operate trouble free for several years before slowly beginning to become less reliable. Usually these later stages of unreliability are beyond the practical life of the product and thus not a concern. As such it can actually be better to repair a product that fails after the first few hours of use rather than replace it. That way there is assurance that the rest of the unit is good, having made it past the infant failure window, as opposed to rolling the dice again with a new unit.

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