Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Local, national efforts to ban drop-side cribs

Wayne Horsley, a member of New York's Suffolk County legislature, has been spearheading a local effort to ban the sale of dangerous drop-side cribs. The drop-side design has been responsible for dozens of infant deaths and thousands of injuries throughout the nation.

The Suffolk legislature will vote on the proposal October 13th, the same day that ASTM (a national industry standards body) is due to make their own ruling. You may learn more about the national issue by visiting the Chicago Tribune's article.

If you are a resident of Suffolk County and would like to express your support for the safety ban, you may contact your local representative at the legislature's website. Make it known how you feel about your child’s safety.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Changes to Illinois law improve posting requirement

In Illinois, a new law changes the recall posting requirements for children's products. Public Act 096-0590 amends the preexisting Children's Product Safety Act by increasing the required 120-day posting of recalled children's products to 240-day postings for the following items: full-size cribs, non-full-size cribs, toddler beds, car seats, high chairs, bath seats, play yards, stationary activity centers, infant carriers, strollers, walkers, swings, bassinets and cradles. Signed by Governor Pat Quinn on August 18, 2009 and sponsored by Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), this law became effective immediately.

Another important change to the Children's Product Safety Act under PA 096-0590 is a retailer's ability to now post recalled items electronically. Previously, retailers were mandated to post paper recall notices within the store property. Parents and caregivers be aware-- if you don't see posters of recalls in your consumer location, check a kiosk or computer terminal in the store for electronic postings. Stores are still responsible to post a physical sign to alert consumers to the electronic postings' location. Look for links such as "product recall" if there is not a warning notice on the main page.

As the Product Safety Letter recently stated, "Illinois has been a bellwether state on recall effectiveness." The state passed the first Children's Product Safety Act in the nation in 1999, banning the sale or commercial use of recalled children's products. The original Act was amended in 2005 to require the posting and consumer notification requirements. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan takes seriously her obligation to enforce the act as well as other measures to protect children from unsafe products.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CPSC 2.0: Safety via social media

CPSC is launching “CPSC 2.0,” a comprehensive social networking initiative that allows the agency to directly reach millions of consumers with lifesaving safety information. The centerpiece of the initiative is CPSC’s “OnSafety” blog, which contains messages, articles, videos, podcasts, and other information. It features a ‘Recall Widget’ tool that anyone can add to their website to list recent recalls. CPSC can now also be found on YouTube, Twitter, and FlickR. According to Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC plans to use every available technology to forward its safety education goal.

The launch of CPSC 2.0 coincides with CPSC’s Furniture and TV Tip-over Education Campaign. CPSC hopes to raise public awareness of tip-over dangers in the home through dramatic videos, blogging, and podcasting.

Take steps to prevent furniture tip-over injuries

CPSC urges parents to take the simple, low-cost steps of inspecting and securing TVs, furniture, and appliances to prevent tip-over deaths and injuries. Young children exploring and playing in their home may be exposed to hidden dangers in every room. Injuries and deaths usually occur when children climb onto, fall against, or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests, and appliances.

CPSC estimates that in 2006 alone, 16,300 children under age 5 were treated in emergency rooms due to injuries associated with TV, furniture, and appliance tip-overs. Between 2001 and 2006, CPSC received reports of 134 tip-over related deaths, and is aware of at least 30 media reports of tip-over deaths since 2007. A new national study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found a 40% increase in the number of injuries from furniture tip-overs during 1990-2007.

To help prevent tip-over hazards, CPSC suggests that furniture should be stable on its own, and anchored to the floor or wall for additional security. TVs should be placed only on sturdy, low-rise bases and pushed as far back as possible. All electrical cords should be placed out of a child’s reach, and kids should be taught not to play with them. Finally, free-standing ranges and stoves should be installed with anti-tip brackets.

For comprehensive information on furniture tip-over safety, visit the Katie Elise Lambert Foundation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CPSC Chair talks to Congress

On September 10, 2009, US Consumer Product Safety (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum appeared before the House sub-committee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Commerce Committee chairman, Henry Waxman and the sub-committee's chairman, Bobby Rush, called the hearing to get an update on her first few months in office and address some pressing issues such as the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, progress in investigating the hazards of drywall imported from China, and general product safety issues.

Most of the time was spent on opening statements from members and Chairman Tenenbaum. Questions for the chair seemed to concentrate most on concerns with CPSIA implementation and questions from Louisiana and Florida representatives about the terrible problems their communities --already hard-hit with past hurricanes-- were having with imported drywall.

Tenenbaum spoke of the progress her agency has made on implementing the CPSIA as well as issues that still remain to be resolved. But she appeared confident, that given enough time and resources, her agency could make the landmark law work well with tools they already had. It was too early, she said, to call for legislative changes to the law. She again reiterated her goals of "transparency and openness to those we serve; a renewed focus on education and advocacy to all American consumers; and fair, but firm enforcement of the product safety laws we oversee" Just that morning her team had delivered a required report to Congress on their plans for a public database.

For those who want to learn more about the drywall issue, CPSC has a dedicated page that even includes summaries of incident data -- we'd love to see that for cribs! To keep up with the implementation of the CPSIA, check out that dedicated page or the list of CPSC items on the Federal Register that are open for comment.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Celebrate national Grandparents Day on Sept 13

Make safety a part of your Grandparents Day celebrations! Grandparents and older relatives serve as teachers, caregivers, and pillars of the family. They are a rich source of wisdom and heritage. It is crucial that these important family members have up-to-date information on child product safety.

This year's Grandparents Day marks the launch of The Debby Sayah Grandparent Outreach Project, an educational campaign to give grandparents the tools and information to keep grandchildren safe from dangerous, recalled products. The program is named for Debby Sayah, mother of KID board member Judy Sage. Her grandson, Andy, suffocated on a foam sleep positioner in 2002.

Check out the safety suggestions in our Grandparents Day email and forward it to others. More materials and opportunities will become available in the near future. Contact Sarah with comments, ideas, and feedback on the program, or if you would like to receive updates on new activities and resources.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back-to-school safety

School supplies, sporting goods, clothing, toys—the beginning of the school year always involves the purchase of various new and used children’s products. It also involves many outdoor activities like bike riding to and from school, using playgrounds, and playing team sports.

CPSC joined President Barack Obama’s back-to-school campaign, “My Education, My Future,” with an emphatic safety message. In her speech on back-to-school safety, CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum urged parents and schools to create safer environments for children. It takes only moments for a child to sustain serious injuries while riding a bike, playing on the neighborhood or school playground, using a moveable soccer goal, wearing clothing with drawstrings especially while playing, or using recalled products. Each year, playgrounds lead to more than 200,000 emergency room visits, while bicycle riding leads to about 80 deaths among children under age 16 and 500,000 emergency room visits.

Be sure to check that your child’s playground equipment is inspected and maintained, ensure that your child always wears a snug-fitting bike helmet, remove all drawstrings from clothing, securely anchor playground equipment, and stay up to date on product recalls. For more information, read CPSC’s Back to School Safety Checklist. Also, be sure to sign up for CPSC’s Email Announcements of all recalls (Spanish version available) and KID’s monthly Email Alerts listing all child product recalls and safety information.

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