Monday, March 17, 2008

CPSC Nursery Products Report raises troubling issues

This month, CPSC released a report on injuries and deaths from nursery products -- cribs, strollers, high chairs and similar products. The injury data is from 2006 and the death statistics are from earlier -- 2002-2004. Even with the delay in releasing the data, it raises troubling issues.

In 2006, 66,400 children under age 5 were rushed to emergency rooms due to injuries from nursery products. Falls were the most common cause of injury requiring emergency room treatment, and cribs, carriers and strollers were involved in the most injuries. In general, this information undercounts injuries since it only includes those involving emergency rooms, not urgent care centers, doctor's offices or those treated at home.

From 2002 to 2004, the report shows 241 deaths of children under 5 involving nursery products, an average of more than 80 a year. The products most likely to be involved in a death are those associated with sleeping -- cribs, bassinets, play yards or bathing -- bath seats and tubs. CPSC reports that 47% of the crib deaths involved soft bedding and 25% involved cribs with broken or missing hardware or parts. Given the large recall of 1 million Simplicity cribs due to breaking hardware, KID is afraid this number will only grow.

Also troubling were the deaths in play yards and portable cribs. Some seemed to repeat the same pattern as the hazardous side rails in the Playskool Travel-Lite which led to 17 deaths. But with CPSC reporting that the report did not involve any recalled products, we are left wondering if products still on the market have the same deadly flaw.

What can parents and caregivers do to prevent injuries in these products? KID has more information at our website on different product hazards, but here are a few tips:
  • To prevent falls, keep babies in products low to the ground and always use restraint systems in high chairs, strollers, carriers, changing tables or swings.
  • Keep sleeping environments clear of all soft bedding, including bumper pads, sleep positioners, comforters, pillows and stuffed animals. Never use adult bedding in a crib or other infant sleep environment.
  • Check your crib and other products carefully when first assembled and regularly during use. Do not use a product with broken or missing hardware.
  • Most importantly, report products that break or appear unsafe to both the manufacturer and CPSC. Without required safety testing in place, parents have to be vigilant to root out unsafe products.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

After debating the underlying bill and amendments all week, the Senate this afternoon passed the CPSC Reform Act of 2008 -- an amazing bill that introduces many of the changes KID has been supporting for the children's product safety system. It finally passed 79-13. Included in both the House and Senate versions of the bill is language from Representative Schakowsky's Infant and Toddler Durable Product Safety Act, which will require CPSC to formulate mandatory safety standards for cribs, strollers, high chairs and other infant and toddler products.

Kids In Danger was founded 10 years ago after the death of Danny Keysar in an untested, unsafe portable crib. We applaud the Senate for passing this bill which will fix the flawed children’s product safety system that led to Danny’s death -- it will save lives.

While the Senate and House bill will now have to be reconciled in conference, both contain important safeguards for children. In addition to the infant and toddler product standards, both increase funding for CPSC, reinstate the full five commissioners, ban lead in children's products and more.

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