Thursday, September 30, 2010

High Chairs -- the product now needing CPSC scrutiny?

It is being announced today that Fisher Price is recalling over 10 million products for various hazards. Among those are 950,000 high chairs. The high chairs have pegs on the back legs that stick out -- causing 14 incidents including stitches and tooth damage. This brings to over 3 million the number of high chairs recalled in the past two years. Other hazards were screws falling out causing the product to fall apart -- sometimes with the child in it and other parts breaking.

According to CPSC's data, high chairs cause over 10,000 emergency room visits each year. This, combined with the rash of recent recalls, suggests that CPSC needs to put the same pressure on manufacturers as they did with cribs to develop tougher standards and better products.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Stop using sleep positioners

CPSC, FDA, AAP and KID all say -- don't use sleep positioners. They are an unnecessary risk and provide no safety protection. CPSC cited 12 deaths, including 2 this year, in issuing the warning.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CPSC, FDA issue warning on sleep positioners

In January 2002, 8 week old Andy Sage died -- not from SIDS as the medical examiner thought at first, but from suffocating on a sleep positioner. Andy turned his head down toward the cushion of the positioning device and suffocated. Since that day his parents, Judy and Mark Sage, have worked tirelessly to alert others to this danger. You can read Andy's story in our Family Voices website.

Judy joined the board of Kids In Danger, joined ASTM International to talk to manufacturers and regulators directly, met with CPSC and repeated her heartbreaking story over and over to anyone who would listen.

And now, CPSC and FDA have confirmed what Judy and KID have said all along -- these products are unnecessary and dangerous. In a rare joint press release, the agencies cited 12 deaths in 13 years and the unproven medical claims that the devices prevent SIDS.

“I’m confident that Andy would be with us today smiling if I did not use the sleep positioner,” stated Judy Sage. “My son and daughter would have their brother. While I’m happy that my voice is being heard to save other babies—it is heartbreaking that it took multiple deaths to effect change. I hope today’s action will keep another family from the grief our family has suffered.”

These products are sold to parents who are worried about SIDS -- believing this product will keep their baby safe. But they are unnecessary and not supported by any SIDS organizations or medical professionals. FDA has now said they will require proof of these medical claims or demand manufacturers stop the sales of the products.

“While the safety warning falls short of a ban of the product that KID would like to see,” states Nancy Cowles, KID executive director. “We hope that it is enough to convince manufacturers to stop making this useless and dangerous product.”

KID urges retailers to stop selling the product; parents currently using the product to stop using it; and expectant parents to cross it off their registry -- these products are unnecessary and dangerous.

Sleep positioners are sold to parents who are worried about SIDS -- believing this product will keep their baby safe. But the product is unnecessary and not supported by any SIDS organizations or medical professionals for the prevention of SIDS.

There are many recommendations to lower the chance of SIDS or suffocation. First and foremost place the baby to sleep on a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet in a safe (read not recalled, fully functioning, no missing parts) crib -- with nothing in the crib but a baby, placed on his or her back. You can get more safe sleep tips from Kids in Danger at or from Sudden Infant Death Services (SIDS) of Illinois at

Update: Here is a very helpful handout from FDA on the warning.

Friday, September 24, 2010

CPSC approves new office for outreach, small business ombudsman

In a 4-1 vote (with Commissioner Northup voting no on fiscal grounds) CPSC approved a new office -- The Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman.

The new office will oversee outreach to foreign regulators and contain an ombudsman office for small business, something many stakeholders have been calling for since the passage of the CPSIA.
The agency hopes that this additional focus will help manufacturers to better build safety into their products as well as answer questions and concerns of the regulated community. The office will also helping coordinate compliance with CPSIA and other regulations by foreign entities.

CPSC foresees that most of the outreach with consumers will stay in the Office of Public Affairs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Check your Similac: may contain 'beetles'

Abbott announced yesterday that it is recalling five million cans of Similac powdered formula because "it doesn't meet our quality standards" -- meaning -- it may have bugs in it!

Abbott says the bugs won't actually hurt your baby, but might cause enough gastric distress that the baby will be hesitant to eat. Sounds like hurting to me!

You can check online or call Abbott at 800.986.8850 to check your lot number and see if it is recalled. (We had trouble getting through on the phone and online this morning.) If so, Abbott will arrange to have you send the formula back for a full refund. Even with the difficulty getting through (Abbott -- increase your capacity to respond to the recall!), KID recommends not using any Similac powdered formula that might be part of the recall until you are sure.

La Leche League anyone?

Update: If you are having trouble checking your lot number with Abbott, use this FDA site for more information.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Bath Seats for sale

KID strongly recommends against the use of bath seats and since 1983, CPSC staff has reports of at least 174 fatal incidents related to their use. Because of that, CPSC recently finalized a mandatory standard for the product. Due to go into effect on 12/6/10, the strict new standard will eliminate most the designs that have been sold in the past. This store is apparently clearing out their old inventory. Please don't buy one!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sorelle branded cribs recalled today -- but should have been part of an April recall of Simplicity cribs.

Albee Baby announced the recall of 130 Sorelle "Prescott" cribs today. The cribs have faulty mattress supports that have led to at least one death. But that's where this story gets a little murky -- that death was in a Simplicity crib and those cribs were recalled in April. But a savvy consumer checked under the Sorelle lablel on her crib and found -- a Simplicity label! These were simply Simplicity cribs rebranded with a brand more likely to appeal to consumers.

By the time these were sold between July and December 2009, the Simplicity brand was already suspect with parents after millions of recalled cribs and a defunct company. So why would Albee Baby sell them under another name? You'd have to ask them!

KID has been concerned for years about licensing -- selling one company's product under another brand name. Danny Keysar died in a Playskool Travel-Lite Crib -- made not by Hasbro, Playskool's parent company, but by Kolcraft, a smaller and at the time, lesser known, brand. The licensing of the Graco and Fisher Price names on other Simplicity products caused confusion as well as delay in alerting consumers to product flaws.

But a formal licensing agreement is a far cry from slapping a new label on a disgraced company's products. We urge CPSC and the FTC to have a closer look -- are there other similar products out there?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Grandparents Day is Sunday

September 12th is Grandparents Day, giving us all an opportunity to honor these vital family members. Many grandparents are important caregivers in their grandchildren's lives -- either for a few hours, for regular child care or even as guardians. And even more are the purchasers of many products for the new baby and nursery.

One great way to pay tribute to the grandparents in your life would be to make a donation in support of KID's programs. In 2009, KID launched The Debby Sayah Grandparent Outreach Project, named to honor the memory of KID board member Judy Sage’s mother, to help grandparents protect their grandchildren from unsafe children’s products.

Your donation will help sustain this vital program:

  • $10 will pay for all materials needed to conduct KID’s workshop, Don’t Learn about Recalls from your Grandchild, with grandparents at a community center
  • $20 will pay for monthly email alerts with safety information and semi-annual newsletters to 5 grandparents
  • $50 will send KID’s educational brochure, Are your grandkids SAFE?, to 500 grandparents

If you make a gift to KID, we will send a Grandparents Day email greeting for you. It’s just two steps: Visit the Support Kids In Danger cause page on Facebook and use the donation button to make your gift, then send Sarah a message on Facebook or send an email to Sarah@, with your personal message to your loved ones and the email address of the recipient(s). We’ll take care of the rest! If you want to support this vital program but do not wish to send an email message, just let us know. We will also mail a tribute notification to the recipient of your gift.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Illinois AG calls out JPMA on safe crib issue

JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) is coming to Chicago tomorrow to kick-off their Baby Safety Month activities, focusing on safe sleep. Just one problem says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- most of the millions of recalled drop-side cribs, involved in dozens of deaths, were certified as 'safe' by JPMA. Even now JPMA asserts that as long as your drop-side crib hasn't been recalled and is put together correctly, it is perfectly safe to use. This despite the banning of this design by the voluntary standards organization, ASTM International AND a probable mandatory standard that will also ban the design. Most manufacturers have stopped making cribs with drop-sides and most retailers no longer sell them.

So what are caregivers to do?

First, for more information on drop-side cribs and safety, check out our previous blog post, What's the deal with dropside cribs? It gives common sense answers to help parents decide about which crib to use for their children.

Also, along with their press release, the Illinois Attorney General's office put out a very helpful guide to drop-side crib recalls and safe sleep tips for parents. But note that this is a list of drop-side crib recalls -- many other sleep environments including non-drop-side cribs, play yards and bassinets (also almost all certified by JPMA) have been recalled. Check any children's product you use against the recall list at CPSC.

But JPMA is right on one thing --too many children die in unsafe sleeping environments -- whether that be a recalled crib, a sofa or waterbed, adult beds or any sleeping surface with too much bedding, extra padding or possibilities for entrapment. So check our safe sleep tips (and those from our friends at Sudden Infant Death Services of Illinois) and choose the safest sleeping environment for your baby -- and use it everytime.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NJ wins payment from company selling banned yo-yo balls

Remember the yo-yo ball -- an inexpensive toy made of questionable materials with a long rubbery cord and a ball filled with liquid? The dangers of the toy were brought to light by parents whose children were nearly killed by the product when the cord wrapped around their neck and couldn't be easily removed. Among them was Lisa Lipin of Skokie Illinois. She, along with other concerned parents, set up a website and began tireless efforts to get the product banned. States such as New Jersey, Illinois and New York banned the product and the standard setting group ASTM International included a performance requirement in the toy standard that wouldn't allow the long dangerous cords. That standard then became a mandatory standard through the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Now a court in New Jersey has fined an Indiana company $67,000 for selling the product in New Jersey, despite that state's ban. Activists like Lipin hope it sends a message to anyone still selling the product -- stop!

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