This morning, Kids In Danger released The Year of the Nursery Product Recall: a look at children's product recalls in 2009. The report found that for the first time, nursery products -- cribs, strollers, high chairs -- accounted for the largest number of children's product recalls. Why?
First, under new leadership, CPSC is taking a harder line against defects in nursery products such as drop-side cribs. Chairman Inez Tenenbaum has pledged to recall defective cribs and pass a mandatory standard this year that bans that troubled design. With an early warning system on sleep products, CPSC recalled twenty sleep products including cribs, hammocks and play yard/bassinet systems.
The more troubling reason for the increase in nursery product recalls may be that the current voluntary industry standards are not doing enough to keep children safe. Nearly all the nursery products that were recalled, and all of them that caused deaths, were certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) as having passed strenuous testing. In addition to the cribs, the recalls highlight design flaws in strollers, high chairs and play yards which were not caught by the voluntary testing. At the press conference, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan shared a letter she has sent to JPMA asking them to immediately remove their seal from any drop-side cribs and encourage their members to offer an incentive to consumers (such as 50% 0ff) to purchase new stationary side cribs. In addition, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association has asked their members to stop the sale of drop-side cribs. Many retailers have already done so.
So the mandatory standards for nursery products required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) can't come fast enough. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky spoke of first introducing a bill with that requirement in 2001. Now, with a timeline of 2 standards every six months, CPSC has already released the walker and bath seat standards and published the advanced notice of rulemaking for bassinets and toddler beds. Standards for cribs and non-full size cribs are promised for later this year.
In addition, the recalls point to the need for the public database, also required by CPSIA, to alert both CPSC and consumers to injury trends and unsafe products.
So what can parents do? First, check out the report of 2009 recalls as well as the CPSC list of recalled products to make sure you aren't using any. Second, report any problems with nursery products or any other children's product to the manufacturer and CPSC. Check out KID's safe sleep flyer, Product Hazard pages and Advocacy pages for more information.