Tuesday, November 24, 2009

UPDATE: Suffolk County Bans Drop-Side Cribs

Suffolk County is the first city in the nation to put a ban on the sale of drop-side baby cribs. Unfortunately, millions of drop-side baby cribs have been recalled due to their connections with a number of injuries and deaths to infant children- including the nation’s largest crib recall on Monday, November 22nd . Before signing the nation’s first drop-side crib ban Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy declared that, “one of the last places a parent assumes their child may be in danger would be in his or her own crib”... “We owe it to our youngsters to minimize their exposure to dangerous and potentially deadly products, and Legislator Horsley’s landmark legislation will provide parents with one less hazard to worry about.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Largest crib recall ever announced: Storkcraft

CPSC has announced the recall of 2.1 million cribs made by Storkcraft. They were sold from 1993 through this year and also sold under the Fisher Price name from 1997 through 2004. The company, CPSC and Health Canada have 110 reports of incidents of dropside detachments in these cribs resulting in 15 entrapments and 20 falls. There were four deaths in these cribs. We know one baby in Louisiana died this May. The question is, were the other deaths earlier and did delay in announcing the recall contribute to this death or any of the others?

Kids In Danger supports the move of voluntary standards setting bodies and retailers away from drop side cribs. But the underlying issue of hardware failures and durability must be addressed in the crib standard by requiring more rigorous testing to stingent standards for durability.

In addition, this highlights the need for a public safety database. With such a searchable database of information, parents and caregivers would have learned of these incidents sooner and perhaps been able to take swifter action to protect their children.

The recall involves a repair kit from Storkcraft that immobilizes the dropside -- converting it to a fixed side cribs. KID believes that in recalls involving sleep environments, especially where a death is involved, consumers should be offered a replacement product or a refund or store credit.

Update: Storkcraft's website and phone lines have been overwhelmed by the volume of calls and hits. They posted this link on Facebook and a blog with more information.

CPSC about to announce huge crib recall

The airwaves are buzzing this morning with talk of a massive recall of cribs -- with drop-sides -- tomorrow. While the crib makes and models aren't known yet, it is a good opportunity to remind everyone with a baby in a crib to give their crib a once over this morning for safety.

  • Find the brand name and model and check at CPSC.gov to make sure your crib hasn't already been recalled. If it has, stop using immediately and contact the manufacturer for the repair, refund, or replacement. Contact information is usually listed at the bottom of the recall notice.
  • Check all hardware on your crib to make sure it is all secure and in place and not broken -- look at plastic hardware especially for wear or stress marks or signs of breakage. If hardware is missing, stop using the product and contact the manufacturer for replacement hardware.
  • Set the mattress at the appropriate height and always leave the sides in the highest position. Once a baby starts to move onto their hands and knees or attempts to pull up to a standing position, move the mattress to the lowest position and remove mobiles.
  • Remove all soft bedding from the crib. Babies are safest in a bare crib, on their backs, with a sleep sack type outfit if necessary for warmth.
  • If you do have a problem with your crib, report it immediately to the manufacturer and the CPSC.
  • If you accept a hand-me-down crib, use a crib for a second child or pass yours along -- always make sure it hasn't been recalled, has all the hardware and instructions, and isn't older than 8 years -- standards have improved much since then. If it is a dropside, we would recommend NOT passing it along or using a second-hand crib.
Let us know how your crib checks out and pass this reminder onto any friends or families with babies in cribs.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The 24th Annual Toy Safety Report

On Tuesday, November 25, Illinois PIRG released its 24th annual toy safety report, Trouble In Toyland. The report highlights the year's most pressing toy safety hazards including choking, lead, phthalates (toxic chemical), and excessive loudness.

Here were some of the most significant findings:
  • Choking hazards were the leading cause of children’s product recalls in 2009. Three children died as a result of choking on a toy or toy part in 2008 alone. There is a ban on small toy parts for toys intended for children under the age of three; however, toys with this hazard are still available on store shelves.
  • PIRG found some toys with volume levels over the 85-decibel limit set by the American Society for Testing and Materials standards. Loudness of toys is of increasing concern as nearly 15% of children age 6-17 have signs of hearing loss.
  • While the first law regulating the amount of phthalates in children’s toys and products went into effect in 2009, setting the limit at 0.1%, Illinois PIRG identified children’s products with up to 7.2% concentrations of phthalates.
  • Lead regulations have also become increasingly stringent in the last year. Nonetheless, children’s products with dangerous levels of lead remain on store shelves, including Barbie, Disney, and Dora brands tested in California.
For tips on avoiding common children's product safety hazards, read this flyer packed with tips from Kids In Danger to help you shop safely this holiday season!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

High lead levels found in children's products sold in California

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in California recently reported on the testing of 250 children's products, finding high lead levels in seven of the items. These include Barbie, Disney, and Dora brands. While the number of products found containing high lead levels has decreased from last year, the high amounts of lead found is disturbing. Of the seven products found to contain higher-than-legal lead levels, the range of lead levels varied from twice the legal limit to 65 times the legal limit.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has released a letter to the retailers of these items (including Target, Walgreens, Sears, and TJ Maxx) notifying them that his office will be enforcing lead standards. The testing commissioned by CEH was funded by a grant from the California Attorney General.

At a town meeting on toy safety in New York, Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC, stated that the decrease in numbers of toys with high lead levels this year is a result of tougher lead standards in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH, stated that parents should remain aware this holiday season that some children's products contain high lead levels and called for manufacturers and retailers to do more to protect children from this hazard.

The lead provisions in the CPSIA have gone into effect, but the testing requirement was stayed by the CPSC until at least February 2010.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CPSC releases new number on toy injuries and deaths

Today, CPSC released their latest available statistics on deaths and injuries associated with toys. This report briefly provides updated summary information on toy-related fatalities for the years of 2006 and 2007, as well as gives detailed information on toy related fatalities for 2008.

In 2008, there were an estimated 235,300 toy-related injuries among children younger than 15 years of age treated in hospital emergency rooms. Children under five were rushed to the emergency room for toy-related injuries 82,300 times. There were 19 deaths reported. Thirteen of the deaths were to children under age 5. Riding toys, rubber balls, and balloons were the items most often involved in deaths. Riding toys, including tricycles, non-motorized scooters, were actually the leading cause of deaths and injuries (26%).

An estimated 47% of emergency department treated injuries were classified as lacerations, contusions, or abrasion; while 45% of all injuries treated occurred to the head and face area. Most deaths were from drowning, motor vehicle involvement, or airway obstruction from a small toy or a small part of a toy.

CPSC also reported on toy recalls, showing they had declined this year and attributed that to the increased funding and authority CPSC received through CPSIA and manufacturers' compliance with safety standards.

These statistics are a reminder that helmets and safety gear should be worn at all times and be sized to fit, all plastic wrappings, un-inflated and or broken balloons should be discarded immediately and kept away from children. In addition, parents should avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking, and that toys should be age appropriate. Please report all problems with toy products to the manufacturer and CPSC.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maclaren Stroller Recall: Update

On Monday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall of 1 million Maclaren strollers sold in the last decade. The recall includes all single and double umbrella strollers, which pose a risk of fingertip laceration and amputation for children. The CPSC has received 15 incident reports, including 12 instances of child fingertip amputations. The hazard results from children getting their fingers pinched in the hinge while parents open or close the stroller. News of the recall first appeared in the Baby Bargains Blog over the weekend.

Maclaren has responded by offering a free repair kit with hinge covers to all owners of these strollers. However, consumers have reported difficulty in accessing the repair kits. Maclaren's website and phone lines were overloaded on Monday, preventing some consumers from ordering the repair kits. Maclaren has also posted a YouTube video with directions on how to install the hinge covers.

Hinge hazards are common to all folding strollers and the CPSC is looking into the need for further recalls or regulations for stroller hinges. Parents should stop using any Maclaren stroller included in the recall until the hinge covers are installed. As with any recall, CPSC is still interested in reports of injuries or incidents with the product.

Update: On Thursday The New York Post reported that Maclaren knew about the risk of finger amputation in their umbrella strollers at least five years ago and failed to report the hazard to the CPSC. In July 2004 a 23-month-old lost his pinky finger, resulting in a settlement between his family and Maclaren. In 2007, an engineer and former compliance officer with the CPSC testified that Maclaren folding strollers have a design defect in comparison to other strollers for children and that the design violates federal regulations intended to prevent a "scissoring effect." The CPSC is still investigating the case.

Update: Maclaren has responded to many of the concerns about the online form and repair kit process and made it easier to get the needed hinge covers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Latest CPSC Report on Nursery Product Related Injuries & Deaths

Recently, the CPSC released their latest available statistics on injuries and deaths related to nursery products. This report details the nursery product related injury estimates from 2008 in which an estimated 63,700 injuries among children under the age of five were treated in hospital emergency rooms.

The items most frequently involved in these incidents were carriages/strollers, infant carriers and car seat carriers (used outside of cars), cribs/mattresses, and high chairs. Stroller injuries rose 33% to 12, 400 from 9,300. The leading cause of injuries were falls in which the head was the most frequently injured body part -- 48% (which is up 4% from last year's report of 44%) of the reported injuries involved the head.

The most recent numbers CPSC is releasing on deaths are from 2004 through 2006 in which 247 deaths occurred. CPSC estimates an average of 82 deaths annually involving nursery products. About 31 of those deaths annually involve cribs/ mattresses, with an average of 12 deaths in baby baths/bath seats/ bathinettes and 11 deaths involving playpens/ play yards and bassinets/cradles. The causes of these deaths range from positional asphyxia and strangulation to drowning. These statistics are a reminder that before using any sleep environment for your baby, check to make sure it is properly assembled, with no missing or broken hardware; that it has not been recalled; and then, remember, bare is best. Remove all soft bedding from a crib or bassinet and use only the mattress supplied or recommended by the manufacturer. Report all problems with a nursery product to the manufacturer and CPSC. Lastly, remain vigilant to your baby and their surroundings.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Target, Toys R Us and Kmart agree to lead paint settlement

Target, Toys R Us and Kmart have agreed to pay a total of $454,000 in fines for selling toys with prohibited amounts of lead paint.

The California Attorney General's Office filed the suit in November 2007 after concluding that the quantity of lead paint violated federal and state law.

Many hope that these penalties will serve as a deterrent for future violations. "The settlement provides a remedy for past violations", said Harrison Pollack, a state deputy attorney general, "and makes it less likely that there will be future violations of lead standards."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BACK to Sleep: SIDS deaths in child care

One of the leading causes of deaths for infants up to the age of one is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). One in five SIDS deaths occur among infants who are in child care. Additional research has found a link between SIDS and babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs. In light of this information there are several ways that parents and caregivers can help reduce SIDS risk:
  • Always place babies on their backs when sleeping.
  • Infants should be placed on a firm mattress or sleep surface in a safe crib. Do not place babies on or near stuffed animals, pillows, quilts or other soft surfaces.
  • Check to make sure the crib is not missing any hardware and has not been recalled.
  • Dress infants appropriately warm in light sleepwear. The room temperature should be at comfortable levels for an adult
Parents and caregivers should talk together about safe sleep. For more information and tips on safe sleep in child care, click here.

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