Thursday, December 31, 2009

Danny would be 13 today

Today is the birthday of my nephew, Leo. His mother, my cousin Amy, died in 2007 after a short but intense fight with cancer. I see Leo turning 13 and know how proud his mom would be of what an amazing young man he has become -- and how profoundly sad it is that she isn't here to see it.

But Leo also reminds me of another boy who would be turning thirteen today. Leo shares the birthday of Danny Keysar, whose parents founded KID in 1998 after he was killed in a dangerous portable crib. As I watch Leo grow, I see the shadow of what Danny might be doing and what an amazing young man he would become -- and again, how profoundly sad that he isn't here.

Danny didn't die of a disease with no cure, but of a flawed children's product safety system that allowed a dangerous crib to be sold and then remain in use even after other babies had died.

All of KID's work is to honor the memory of Danny and other victims of unsafe children's products. He is always in our thoughts as are Ellie and Andy, Ethan and Riley, Liam and Kennedy, and too many others. We are proud of the legacy we are building in their memory that will keep other babies safe.

We have seen tremendous change over the past several years in the area of children's product safety. With new laws, some carrying Danny's name, and a new active administration at CPSC, children are already safer today -- but more must be done. Join with us to honor not only Danny, but the children in your life with a safer tomorrow.

  • Make a donation to KID in a child's name. We promise to put it to good use fulfilling our mission to promote safer products, advocate for children and educate the public about dangerous children's products.
  • Check the children's products in your home for recalls and urge others -- grandparents, caregivers, neighbors and family -- to do the same. There were seven million cribs recalled in the last two years..Make sure your child isn't sleeping in one of them. Sign up for email alerts from CPSC and KID.
  • Tell your elected officials, local, state and federal -- that children's safety should be a priority
  • Read the stories in our Family Voices site. Many of these families paid the ultimate price of unsafe products.
  • If you have a product that appears to be unsafe, report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This is sometimes the only way unsafe products are removed from the marketplace.
Thank you for your support of Kids In Danger and we look forward to working together to make 2010 a year of real safety advances.

Nancy Cowles, executive director

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Parent Survey Provides Insight for Recall Awareness

Kids In Danger released The Illinois Parent Survey on Product Safety today. The survey found that when asked to list issues, parents reported home safety concerns most often above crime, traffic and outside injuries concerns. Yet, parental awareness may not align with parental concern. On average, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls children's products over twice a week, but only 43% of parents hear of recalls even once a month.

Most parents still get their recall information from TV news, despite the increased use of the internet. Also, the survey found that consumers are more likely to comply with recalls when given a replacement or refund on their item.

KID will use the results of this survey, along with additional information, to inform our own outreach and education efforts as well as help advocate for more effective recalls.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RC2 Corp. reaches $1.25 million settlement for lead in paint in Thomas & Friends toys

RC2 Corp., based in Oak Brook, IL, will pay a $1.25 million civil penalty for allegedly violating the federal ban on lead paint in children's toys. The settlement resolves the allegations that RC2 corp. and its subsidiary Learning Curve Brands Inc. knowingly imported and sold toys with lead paint levels above the legal limit set in 1978. CPSC alleged that RC2 did not act to ensure that the toys would meet the lead paint standards, creating a risk of lead poisoning for children. In 2007, RC2 Corp. reported to CPSC that over two dozen styles of their Thomas & Friends toys contained paints with lead levels higher than the 0.06% limit, leading to a highly publicized recall of 1.7 million units. CPSC states that this is the second-highest civil penalty imposed on a toymaker.

The 2007 Thomas & Friends recall was a catalyst for Congressional action toward the new, stricter lead paint regulations of 0.009%, effective August 14, 2009, according to CPSC chair Inez Tenenbaum. As part of the settlement, RC2 denies that it knowingly violated federal lead paint standards.

This past June, Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price unit received a fine of $2.3 million for importing and selling toys that exceeded the federal lead limits. While the lead paint provision of the CPSIA of 2008 creates stronger regulations to protect children from the danger of lead poisoning, parents and consumers need to remain alert to recalls for children's toys with excessive lead.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Safety Updates and News on 12/23/09

Here is a brief roundup of some news coming across our desk this week:

A class action lawsuit on behalf of families whose children played with the CSI Fingerprinting Kit by Planet Toys has reached a tentative settlement. The suit alleged asbestos was found in the fingerprinting powder. If you had or have one of these toys, January 14, 2010 is your last chance to register for the settlement. For more information, visit the website.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) this week announced the results of their booster seat testing for fit -- how each seat positions the seatbelt on a child. They tested sixty seats and rates some as Best Bets, Good Bets and Not Recommended, along with those where the data was inconsistent. In addition to the information at IIHS, Consumer Reports, Car Seat Blog and SafeKids also have coverage and advice.

A ban on drop side cribs has been introduced in New York. And the ASTM International recently published the new voluntary standard on Full Size Cribs that also eliminates that design. Because Illinois' Childrens Product Safety Act requires cribs to comply with ASTM standards, cribs with drop sides may violate that law now in Illinois and can't be sold, new or used by commercial sellers.

And we found this on the Toy Industry Association site, Toy Info: a panel discussion with industry safety experts who also happen to be moms -- some good information on checking second hand products and age grading of toys.

And finally, CPSC is holding another 2 day workshop, this one on the development of the Public Database. The panel information and registration is now available at the CPSC site.

Monday, December 21, 2009

CPSC extends stay for testing for lead in children's products

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to lift the stay on testing requirements for some products, including rattles, bike helmets and bunk beds when it expires on February 10, 2010, but will continue the stay for another year on most children's products for third party testing for lead. CPSC also voted to allow an interim enforcement policy that allows component testing for lead, giving some relief to small batch manufacturers. The what and when of stay or no stay is a little I'd refer you all to CPSC's very clear chart which lays it all out. Thoughts?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CPSC initiates renewed efforts to locate Simplicity cribs

Prompted by the recent death of 7-month-old from Kentucky , CPSC has initiated a new effort to locate the recalled Simplicity drop-side cribs that have now claimed the lives of 11 infants.

The cribs were manufactured by Simplicity and SFCA Inc., but some of them include Graco or Winnie-the-Pooh logos. Plastic connectors on the drop-side can break easily and cause entrapment or suffocation. Besides the known fatalities, the CPSC is aware of 25 other incidents of breakage.

The CPSC issued a Simplicity recall in September 2007, but then last July initiated another recall for more cribs; now all Simplicity wooden dropside cribs have been recalled. The cribs were sold across the nation from January 2005 to June 2009.

Simplicity and SFCA Inc. no longer make cribs, but their negligence continues to take babies lives. It's encouraging that CPSC is taking renewed action, but this baby's tragedy highlights the systemic weaknesses of the recall system. Only 10-30% of all recalled products, it is said, are ever retrieved. Companies should be held accountable not just to do a recall, but to administer an effective recall that takes products out of use.

For now, it is imperative that we all spread the word of this dangerous crib to any families who might still be using it. A complete list of crib recalls can be found in KID's flyer on safe sleep.

CPSC has posted a helpful video. For other related information, please visit

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CPSC Recalls Roman Shades and Roll-up Blinds

Today the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall affecting more than 50 million Roman shades and roll-up blinds due to a strangulation hazard for children. Strangulation can occur with Roman shades when a child places their neck in between the cord loop and the fabric of the shade, or if a child pulls out the cord and wraps it around their neck. Strangulation can occur with roll-up blinds if the loop slides off the blind and a child's neck becomes entrapped in it, or if a child places their neck between the loop and the blind material. The CPSC is aware of 21 incidents involving roman shades and roll-up blinds since 2006 in which 5 children died from strangulation and 16 others experienced near-strangulation.

The recall affects Roman shades and roll-up blinds sold at major retailers including JCPenney, Walmart, Ace Hardware, and Pottery Barn. The Window Covering Safety Council is offering a free repair kit to all owners of these products, available at (800) 506-4636 or online at Parents and caregivers should remove these products immediately until repairs have been made. The best way to protect children from the risk of strangulation is to only use cordless window coverings in homes with young children and childcare settings.

As always, report any incidents or injuries related to window coverings to CPSC. More information about window blind safety is available at Parents for Window Blind Safety.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amby Motion Bed/Hammock Recall

The CPSC and Amby Baby announced a recall of the Amby Baby Motion Beds after getting reports of two deaths. The babies were entrapped in the product in a position that didn't allow them to get air. See our previous post here for more information.

CPSC has announced a repair kit for the product that will stabilize it to try to prevent movement that might lead to tilting or unsafe positions. On the other hand, Health Canada instead warns its citizens to stop using the product and dispose of it in such a way it can't be used again. They believe that hammocks are inherently unsafe for babies and recommends against their use.

We tend to side with Health Canada. We'll withhold judgement on the 'repair kit' until we see it, but find it hard to believe this product can be made safe for the uses Amby Baby recommends.

In particular, we can't see how this product could be safe for a baby once he or she rolls over or can push up on hands or knees. And yet Amby suggests it can be used up to nine months, well past that development stage for most babies.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't use Amby Baby Hammocks or similar products

UPDATE: Amby and CPSC announced a recall this morning, citing two suffocation deaths. The recall says a repair kit will be sent. As soon as we have more information, we'll share it.

We just finished reading this post at the Baby Bargain's Blog and wanted to pass on the warning to our readers. The Amby Baby Hammock has been involved in at least one death (the grieving parent was told their baby was the third) and is not being offered for sale at this time. If you have one, please stop using it immediately and find a safe place for your baby to sleep. We have asked CPSC for any information they may have.

Kids In Danger first raised the issue of this product to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association back in February 2009, surprised to find a product that didn't even meet the definition of a bassinet 'certified' to the bassinet standard by JPMA. JPMA never answered our questions as to how the product was certified, but has now removed any mention of it from their site. But the Amby Baby site still sports the JPMA logo saying the product was 'certified for safety and effectiveness'.

Most of the seven million cribs recalled for entrapment and other hazards in the past two years and responsible for numerous deaths were also JPMA certified.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Children's Sleep Environment Recalls Reach Historic High

Recalls of children’s sleep environment products by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have totaled over 9 million units in the last two years, culminating with the largest crib recall in history of Stork Craft’s 2.1 million drop-side cribs this November.

Kids In Danger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by improving children’s product safety, released Unsafe While Sleeping: Children’s Sleep Environment Recalls: September 2007-November 2009 today. The report explores the explosion of infant sleep environment recalls and the hazards the cribs, bassinets and portable cribs present.

The report found over 2,200 incidents of children’s sleep product malfunctioning that led to 70 reported injuries and 16 deaths. According to Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger, “These incidents include only those already reported at the time of the recall. Cribs are the one place that infants and young children are left alone. More needs to be done to protect children from these hazards in the particularly vulnerable environment of cribs and other sleep environments.”

Additional findings of the report include:
• Two manufacturers, Simplicity and Stork Craft, accounted for 62% of recalls.
• Simplicity products were involved in 69% of reported incidents of product malfunctioning and 8 out of 16 deaths.
• Entrapment hazards associated with suffocation or strangulation accounted for 75% of recalls.
• Falls accounted for 29% of recalls and 66% of injuries.
• Most injuries and deaths occurred in cribs (61%) and play yards (37%).
• Drop-side cribs account for over half of the reported injuries and 10 out of 16 deaths.

KID recommends that all infants sleep in a crib made after 1999 in order to ensure current safety standards. Parents should check sleep products against the recall list at and make sure to follow assembly directions, being mindful that all parts are accounted for and fit together snugly, especially in drop-side cribs. Parents can sign up for safety updates at In addition, parents should report problems with a product to both the manufacturer and CPSC and urge Congress to continue its oversight of CPSC.

More information about Kids In Danger and children’s sleep environment safety is available at or (312) 595-0649.

Search This Blog