Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Toys "R" Us offers discount for used baby items

Today Toys "R" Us has announced their second-ever "Great Trade-In" Event, an initiative designed to help parents replace potentially dangerous used children's products with new ones. The event will begin Friday January 29 and end Saturday February 20.

Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us will offer a 25% discount on selected new products when parents return their used products. Eligible items include cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs and toddler beds.

KID suggests to take advantage of the opportunity. The drop-side crib, for example, has been notoriously dangerous over the years but has only recently been banned since last December.
"Exchanges such as the Toys "R" Us program go a long way to help", says Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of KID, referring to the number of dangerous sleep products that still remain in homes.

Toys "R" Us has no restrictions on number of trade-ins and will also accommodate bulk exchanges from childcare facilities and other organizations.

Before visiting the store, we suggest you visit the CPSC website to check if any of your items have been recalled. If so, you may be eligibile for a full refund.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A week of progress on crib safety

I've been in Washington, DC this week to work on crib safety.

Up first, two days of an ASTM (voluntary standard setting body) meeting at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on beefing up the voluntary standard that has governed crib safety for the past several decades. Under the requirements in the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), CPSC now must develop mandatory standards to cover crib and other durable infant and toddler products. Suddenly, testing methods and performance requirements that were shunned by industry for years are now on the table for a strong standard. The participating groups -- testing labs, consumers, manufacturers and CPSC worked hard to address all the hazard patterns that CPSC has seen in incident reports -- dropside failures, hardware failure, mattress support collapses, breaking slats and more.

By sometime this summer, CPSC should be posting an NPR (notice of rulemaking) with the new regulations on cribs to be in the place by the end of the year.

Then today, KID, along with Susan & Robert Cirigliano, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. The Committee had called hearing on crib safety and the need for greater oversight after becoming alarmed by the million of cribs recalled recently.

Susan and Robert (pictured at right with CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum) are the parents of Bobby, who died in a dropside crib when he was six months old in 2004. Susan gave moving testimony of what an unsafe product took from their family and the steps they think are needed to protect other children from the same fate. She called for a ban on drop-side crib designs as well as better reporting of incidents and data tracking at CPSC.

JPMA executive director Mike Dwyer also testified about their certification program and their work with ASTM in developing the voluntary standard. He did not attempt to answer the question as to why millions of their certified cribs, bassinets and play yards have been recalled in the last two years and was cut short by the Committee members when he tried to shift the blame to the parents in the death involved in the recent Dorel Asia crib recall. (Dorel Asia's cribs are not part of the JPMA certification program.) That being said, JPMA members worked hard the last two days at CPSC to develop a much stronger standard -- now that it is required.

KID's testimony centered not only on the frustrating history of trying to strengthen the voluntary crib standard, but with consumer expectations and use of cribs and other things CPSC could do to improve crib safety. These include continuing their work on a public database of consumer incident information and increasing recall effectiveness.

CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum spoke of her commitment to improving crib safety and looking at ways CPSC can react more quickly to reports of unsafe products. She gave her personal commitment that there would be a strong mandatory standard by year's end. Given her staff's hard work toward that objective we have confidence CPSC will meet that goal. KID will be an active participant, along with other consumer organizations such as Consumer Federation of America and Keeping Babies Safe, to make sure the new rules are strong enough to keep children safe in cribs.

Nancy Cowles
Executive Director, Kids In Danger

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Breaking News: Dorel Asia Recalls Cribs: Strangulation and Suffocation Hazards

Today the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, along with Dorel Asia is announcing a voluntary recall to replace drop side and non-drop side cribs that pose suffocation and strangulation hazards to infants and toddlers. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs until replacement kits are obtained and installed from Dorel Asia.

CPSC and Dorel Asia received a report of the death of 6-month old child who became entrapped and strangled in a crib after the drop side hardware broke. Reports of 31 drop side incidents were received and in six of those incidents, children were entrapped between the drop side and crib mattress. In addition, CPSC and Dorel Asia received reports of 36 incidents of slat breakage, including reports of bruises and scratches to children.

What makes these cribs so dangerous? The drop side hardware can fail causing the drop side to detach from the crib. When the drop side detaches it creates a space in which an infant or toddler can become entrapped and suffocate or strangle. In addition, the recalled cribs can pose a serious entrapment and strangulation hazard when a slat is damaged. This can occur while the crib is in use, in storage, being put together, taken apart or reassembled; or during shipping and handling.

Dorel took the unusual and distasteful step of immediately reversing what was said in the joint press release with CPSC in their own release a couple hours later. Given the amount of time wasted in negotiating the wording of releases with companies before a recall is released, this kind of public backtracking should be discouraged, perhaps with fines.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs, find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their child, and contact Dorel Asia to receive a free replacement kit. Consumers should log on to to order the free replacement kit. The repair kits will be provided to owners within the next several weeks.

Exact model numbers and styles of cribs involved in this recall can be found through the CPSC website
CPSC reminds parents not to use any crib with missing, broken, or loose parts. Make sure to tighten hardware from time to time to keep the crib sturdy. When using a drop-side crib, parents should check to make sure the drop side or any other moving part operates smoothly. Always check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement. Disengagements can create a gap and entrap a child. In addition, do not try to repair any side of the crib, especially with duct tape, wire, or rope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CPSC, Caramia Furniture recall drop-side cribs

The CPSC, in conjunction with Caramia Furniture and Mother Hubbard Cupboard’s, has voluntarily recalled approximately 1,000 Diane drop-side cribs. There have been 18 reports of slats detaching from the rails of the crib posing fall and entrapment hazards to children.

As a remedy, consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Diane crib and contact Caramia Furniture at (877) 728-0342 to receive a free replacement drop side. Consumers can also visit their website at The free replacement will be available beginning March 2010.

This is the latest in a long string of drop-side crib recalls -- a design that is no longer allowed under ASTM voluntary standards. It is troubling that the repair won't be available for another 2 months -- we wonder where these companies think the baby will sleep in the meantime. It seems that if a recalled product can't be repaired immediately, especially when it is a sleep environment, the company should be required to provide a refund or replacement so parents can get a safe sleep environment.

Another note, the newest of these cribs are four years old -- if you have this crib in the attic or have passed it along, please make sure the current user is aware of the recall. We would recommend destroying it if it is not currently in use.

WARNING: Please Do Not Allow Young Children to Play With Cheap Metal Jewelry

CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum recently released a statement urging parents, grandparents, and caregivers to prevent young children from wearing or playing with cheap metal jewelry. Children's jewelry has been repeatedly found to contain lead, cadmium and or other dangerous heavy metals. An AP story alerted us all that cadmium is turning up more often in children's jewelry since the CPSIA banned the use of lead in children's products.

Tenenbaum warned manufacturers against the use of heavy metals, particularly cadmium, in a keynote speech that was delivered Tuesday at the APEC Toy Safety Initiative/Dialogue in Hong Kong.

For this reason, we urge parents to continue to check recalls listed on the CPSC web site as well as prevent children from playing with cheap metal jewelry. Cadmium has also been found in children's vinyl products.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CPSC two day workshop on public database

Kids In Danger, along with other consumer groups, manufacturers, state officials and others, just completed two days of workshops at CPSC aimed at developing the public consumer incident database required by CPSIA.

The event was held in a roundtable format that allowed all parties to interact and answer questions the CPSC staffed poised as well as get additional information from CPSC on the progress they have made to date.

I believe everyone found it a productive two days and very helpful in developing this vital safety tool.

CPSC has posted the video from the workshops. Comments on the questions raised at the workshop or other database issues will be accepted by CPSC through January 29, 2010. The database is scheduled to be live in March 2011.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Your precious moments can save lives

Calling all families.... Kids In Danger is creating a new video to educate parents and caregivers about children's product safety. We need recent home movies of baby showers, bringing baby home from the hospital, first birthdays, etc to help narrate our message. Your treasured movies of your baby can help keep other babies safe.

Submit your recent home videos for consideration in one of three ways:

  1. Send us the link to your movies from your blog, Facebook page, YouTube, etc.
  2. Upload your movies to YouTube or any video posting program and then send us the link.
  3. Mail a cd or dvd or your movies to Kids In Danger, 116 W. Illinois, Suite 5E, Chicago, IL 60654.

Contact us by May 15 for consideration. If we use your footage, we'll contact you with more information and a release form. If you are sending a dvd or cd and want it back, be sure to indicate that. Questions? Email us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CPSC product registration card rule published

The CPSC has issued a new final rule on product registration cards for durable infant and toddler products. The provisions of this part of the CPSIA are named in honor of Danny Keysar, whose parents founded KID. The new rule is composed of three elements: certain nursery products must come with registration cards, companies must retain data from the registration cards, and the products must permanently display certain contact and identifying information. It is hoped that both the cards and an online registration system, along with requirements for outreach in the event of a recall will increase recall effectiveness for these products.

Shopping cart injury data

CPSC recently updated shopping cart injury data. Between 2006 and 2008 there were an estimated 21, 065 ER treated injuries associated with shopping carts among children under the age of five. Most of these events involved head and face injuries as a result of children falling from carts. In fact, falls accounted for 82% of shopping cart incidents from 2003 to 2008.

Phthalates Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) Named by CPSC

The CPSC has recently made available the seven names of the members of CHAP who will review three temporarily banned phthalates as mandated by CPSIA. More information about members' professional information and more can be gathered from the Product Safety Forum.

ICPHSO Annual Meeting & Training Symposium

The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) is dedicated to addressing health and safety issues related to consumer products marketed globally. Annually, ICPHSO brings together key players in consumer product safety to exchange ideas, share information, and take leadership roles in addressing health and safety concerns affecting all consumers.

The 2010 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium will take place in Washington, D.C. at the Capital Hilton from February 15-18. Attendees can look forward to hearing from CPSC's senior staff, led by Chairman Inez Tennenbaum, a review of the Commission's new initiatives, a Consumer Product Safety Law Seminar, activities surrounding recall effectiveness and a host of workshops surrounding issues of product safety. For more information, an agenda, or to register, please visit

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