Thursday, August 28, 2008

UPDATE: CPSC warns against Simplicity Bassinets

Following the news this week of another death in a Simplicity Bassinet, CPSC has issued a warning urging parents and caregivers to stop using the bassinet involved. This warning is in lieu of a recall because CPSC can't get the company that now owns Simplicity to agree to a recall -- another sign of the weakness of the agency that hopefully will be remedied with the new legislation. CPSC did get six retailers to agree to recall the product, so if you bought it from one of these stores, you can return it for a refund. Please, send the CPSC warning out to anyone who might be using this product.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another death in a Simplicity Bassinet

New reports have come to light of another death in a Simplicity bassinet. Last September, a four month old strangled in a Simplicity 4 in 1 bassinet when she slipped through the bars on the side of the bassinet that are covered only with fabric. Now it appears a seven month old has died in the same way. KID would recommend that anyone with this product stop using it. CPSC has known about the first death for almost a year and yet has not taken any action -- and now there is another death. For more on bassinet safety, go to our website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School Safety

The end of August marks a time of year when children across the United States begin school and settle into their academic routine. Parents, of course are simultaneously excited and stressed out over wrapping up summer activities, getting their children back into school-mode, and the annual back-to-school shopping trip. Back to school essentials generally consist of warmer clothes for the kids, school utensils, a new lunch box, and a backpack. When shopping for these items, KID urges parents to consider the product and their child’s safety.

  • Clothing - Warmer children’s clothing such as jackets, sweaters, and sportswear often have drawstrings that can catch onto play equipment or doors, and children can be subsequently strangled. This month alone, three children’s clothing items – Bongo Cheetah Girls Jackets, Request Jean Drawstring Hoodies, and Raw Blue Hood Sweatshirts, have been recalled due to drawstrings that pose a strangulation hazard.
  • Lunch Box - Excessive levels of lead paint have lead to the recall of several children’s products. Unfortunately, lead has also been found in some lunchboxes, especially those made with vinyl material. When shopping for a lunch box for your child look for those made from non-PVC materials to avoid risks associated with excessive lead content.
  • Backpack - Unfortunately, homework isn’t the only pain in the neck for kids, so are children’s backpacks! To avoid back pain and injury for children, parents should invest in backpacks that have padded shoulder straps, reflective trim and a waist belt. Backpacks should be worn 2 inches above the waist and straps should be shortened so that they do not pose a fall or strangulation hazard. When loaded, backpacks should only be 10 to 20 percent of the children’s weight to ensure their safety and health.
  • School Supplies - The task of purchasing school supplies is usually simplified for parents as teachers send home of requests; however, parents should be mindful and careful when making these purchases for their child. School utensils should be age appropriate. Store and handle items with sharp edges, such as scissors, protractors, pens, and pencils carefully. Safe guard these items with protective cases.

    Other recalls:
    Coolibar Inc. Children’s Sunblock Jacket and Hoodies
    Vinyl Fast Forward Lunch Box
    Eddie Bauer Stainless Steel Lunch Bottle
    Care Bear Lunch Kit and Water Bottle
    Lands End Cool Blue Backpack
    Global Design “Cars” Backpack
    Discount School Supply Paint Brush
    Discount School Supply Two-Sided Easels

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't Let Summer Products Cloud Your Summer!

Summer can be a thrilling time of year for young children as they play outside and engage in different weather permitting activities. Unfortunately, summer excitement can be clouded if parents are unaware of the potential risks and dangers associated with some summer products.

Last week Kids in Danger (KID) released Summer Safety: Product injury patterns for children under six, a report that exposes the dangers that some summer products pose as well as recent recalls and summer safety tips. Through highlighting 2007 summer product –related injuries for children five years old and younger, the report points to a need for increased product safety and further awareness. Learn more here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

KID participates in live Webcast today

Live Web chat Monday-from the Chicago Sun Times:

Please join The Fixer at noon (CDT) today at as we chat with Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, a Chicago-based organization that has been on the front lines of legislation to make children's products safer.

You remember the scares last year about lead paint on toys and high-strength magnets that toddlers were swallowing? Consumer groups are hoping to finally give the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the teeth it needs to stop products like these from reaching our stores.

We'll also have a link afterward where people can view the rerun online.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

President signs CPSC reform bill

President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act this morning. This Act is the legacy of the countless children, including Danny Keysar - whose parents founded Kids In Danger - who have been killed or injured by unsafe children's products and toys. It is to honor their memories that KID will work to ensure the full implementation of the bill as quickly as possible. Here's more from the coalition of consumer groups.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Internet: Recirculation of Recalled Children’s Products

Selling and buying products online is becoming more common every year. Unfortunately, however, this convenient mode of shopping has created a new kind of market where previously recalled children’s products can reach consumers, thereby presenting a risk of injury to children.

Last year, many high profile toy manufacturers recalled millions of toys due the hazards they pose, however, some of these toys are still available via internet. Mega Brand, for example, recalled about 4 million of its Magnetix toys due to small magnets falling out and children swallowing them. The toys were responsible for 34 incidents, 4 injuries, and 1 death; yet, some of these recalled Magnetix toys are still being sold on EBay. Today you can find the Rose Art Magnetic X-treme Combo Set and Micro Set on EBay, which Mega Brand recalled over a year ago!

So how do such high profile recalls make it to the internet? Well, quiet easily. Many products are not marked as recalled or defective and unless a consumer knows about a recall, they have little way of knowing that the product they are selling or purchasing for their child is dangerous. Further, popular online auctions sites, like EBay, claim that they are not equipped to regulate the millions of new and used items for sale. While EBay does provide a tip sheet and links to a recall database, it does not have its own inventory for consumers. Moreover, the auction site has little legal liability for products sold on its site.

The presence of recalled children’s products on online auction sites is unacceptable and warrants a need for change. To reduce the resale of recalled children’s products parents need to check their desired purchase against recall lists, manufacturers need to obtain recalled products from homes so that they are not resold, and online auction sites need to investigate and post recalls while also requiring sellers to sell only non-recalled items. Combined, these efforts can reduce the recirculation of recalled products and work to keep children safe.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Playground Safety Report

The Center for Justice and Democracy recently released a new report targeting playground safety, Kids ‘N Safe Play: Regulation, Litigation and Playground Safety. The report examines how past playground-related incidents spurred the evolution of steel structures on asphalt to more creative and safe equipment placed on soft ground coverings. Their release emphasizes the message that although there has been progress towards children’s safety, recent high rates of playground-related injuries among children suggests a need for more to be done on the playground safety front. Such movement requires ignoring corporate groups that make false claims that new, safe playgrounds are “bad” and “boring”.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Babies"R"Us posts Jardine Crib recall info and hotline

Since the recall of the 320,000 Jardine cribs six weeks ago, Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us have relied on Jardine to interact with consumers on the recall process. But since the cribs were only sold through Babies"R"Us and can only be replaced by cribs from Babies"R"Us, consumers have looked to the chain to help them with the confusing process. From a Jardine hotline that drops callers repeatedly, to low inventory of replacement cribs in the stores, to confusion at the branch level of what the store policies are on online purchases and refunds on the vouchers; Jardine crib owners are growing frustrated. Now Babies"R"Us has posted the voucher policy on their website and announced a hotline (973-617-5000) for crib owners who need assistance.

In the meantime, please continue to spread the word of this recall to any parents or caregivers and if you have the crib, don't let your child sleep in it -- even if it means weeks in a portable crib or playyard. The cribs are unsafe. Again, recommendations for your baby's sleeping in the meantime:

  • If you can afford it, purchase a new crib online or at a Babies”R”Us store and get reimbursed when your voucher arrives.
  • For newborns and babies not yet pushing up or rolling over, they can stay in a bassinet
  • Older babies (close to 2) can be moved to the crib mattress on the floor of a childproofed nursery
  • Other babies can sleep in a portable crib or playpen. Make sure it hasn’t been recalled and meets current safety standards (JPMA seal). This means it was tested for use as a sleep environment.
  • Never put a baby to sleep on couches, chairs, strollers or water beds; or with another child or in a sleep environment with soft bedding.
  • If you need help to secure a safe sleeping product for your baby while you wait for your new crib, contact the CPSC public affairs department at 301-504-7908. They are working with nonprofits to supply safe portable cribs as needed.

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