Monday, April 25, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
First, thanks to all of you who emailed or called Congress expressing your support for the new consumer incident database, SaferProducts.gov, at CPSC. If you haven't visited yet, check out the Search page and see what incidents consumers have already filed.
The proposed study has to examine:
- whether the information that is submitted is from first-hand knowledge;
- whether the complaint information is adequate for CPSC investigative purposes;
- whether the product information is sufficient to enable consumers and stakeholders to identify the product; and
- whether the time allotment before posting complaints is reasonable for adjudication of claims.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Saferproducts.gov, the new searchable database at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) went live for reports on March 11. Now, as the three week timeline for processing the reports comes to an end, CPSC has begun posting those reports. KID, while not busy defending CPSIA in the House, has taken a look and recommends you do too.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Yesterday, CPSC released the Arm's Reach Concepts, Inc's voluntary recall of about 76,000 infant bed-side sleepers, due to entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
In 2008, parents of children injured or killed by unsafe juvenile products rejoiced when the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act was included in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and signed into law. This portion of the CPSIA assured parents that:
- For the first time, cribs, strollers, high chairs and other juvenile products had to be independently tested for safety before we brought them into our homes to use with our children.
- Strong new standards would be adopted for juvenile products that would assure that the required testing would find potential flaws and make sure the products were safe for use.
- Child care facilities and other public accommodations could only offer children safe cribs that met federal standards.
- Parents would be given the opportunity to register their products with the manufacturer either through a postage paid card or online – making sure they would learn of recalls.
Well, fill out those product registration cards – you’re going to need them! The new House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Manufacturing wants to strip most of those protections – just like they stripped the words ‘Consumer Protection’ from their subcommittee name – it’s not like they didn’t warn us!
In addition to many other onerous changes that reduce the safety of all products you and your children use, here are the specific changes that affect infant and toddler durable products:
- Strips the requirement for independent testing from all infant and toddler products, except for testing cribs to the old standards that eliminated gaps between slats, but little else. But that stroller, high chair or carrier? Your child will again be the test dummy for safety. Companies may say they employ their own testing, but we saw where that got us with the 10 million cribs recalled in the last four years and dozens of deaths each year in nursery products.
- First, the proposed change says that child care providers have to replace their old cribs that don’t meet the standard – but just this once. In the future, if the standard changes, the facilities can keep using their cribs, only moving up to cribs that meet the new standard when they replace them. We understand this rule – after all, some centers will only be getting their new cribs in late 2012 when there might already be a few changes to the standard – making it a ridiculous exercise in trying to keep up. BUT, the next proposed change, combined with this commonsense change, will basically mean that your child care can keep on using any old crib they want – as long as it doesn’t have a drop-side. Read on…
- The next proposed change says that if a child care facility is using fixed sided cribs (no drop-sides), they don’t have to comply with the new law that requires all cribs in child care to meet the new standard by 2013. So if a center is using an old crib, that we know is unsafe – it has corner posts that have hung children, it has cut-outs that have caused strangulation, or it is simply too old and rickety – they get to keep using that crib! And since they don’t have to comply with the next revision of the standard, they can keep using it forever! They do provide that the facility has to be subject to regulations that require them to stay in the room with the infant, not leave an awake baby in a crib and move all babies out of cribs at 12 months. But we all know that supervision is a poor substitute for safe products. When a baby suffocates or strangles, it is usually with little or no noise. Babies have died when parents have been in the same room.
So, what should be done, what are we asking for?
All products in section 104 of the CPSIA (infant and toddler durable products – cribs, strollers, high chairs, etc) should be subject to independent, third-party testing with no exceptions. These are products parents and caregivers buy to keep their children safe. They involve many parts and hardware and can be very dangerous if defective. Let’s not go back to the days of baby test dummies – let’s make sure the products are safe before we use them for our children.
While it may not be reasonable to ask child care providers to replace all cribs every time there is a minor change to the crib standards, there should be a means by which CPSC can require that if necessary. If another flaw in cribs erupts as the drop-side issue did over the past few years, CPSC should have the ability to require safe cribs in child care settings.
The new mandatory crib standard does so much more than ban drop-sides. In fact, it is unlikely that the drop-side cribs on the market over the past decade that led to millions of products being recalled and dozens of deaths could meet this standard – thereby eliminating the need to even officially ban them. The new standards will make sure crib hardware is sturdy, mattress supports and slats can stand up to real world use and that cribs, used to protect an unattended child, can keep a child safe. Allowing all matter of cribs, safe and unsafe, to remain in child care – just because they don’t have a drop-side is a clear attempt to gut the safety improvements of the past few years. Child care is varied and diverse. It is unreasonable to have an exemption for fixed sided cribs without knowing the condition of the crib, when it was made and what standards it does meet. If we are allowing some child care providers to keep older, less safe cribs, they should at least meet the most recent voluntary standard, ASTM 1169-09 or ASTM 406-09 for non-full size cribs.
Tell Congress – “Don’t Retreat on Safety: Keep our nurseries safe”
Call or email your own representative as well as Chairman Bono Mack of the subcommittee and other members. Let them know we can't go backwards on the safety of our youngest consumers. Tell them about your child and why it is important to you that nursery products meet strong standards and be independently tested.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
On April 1, Tami Vanderwilt will set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Tami is planning this trip in honor of her grandson, Aiden. He was just 6 months old when his life was tragically ended after he suffocated against a bumper pad while sleeping.
Chicago Tribune reporter Ellen Gabler has published an article exposing the Consumer Safety Product Commission's (CPSC) less than adequate job of investigating the role that crib bumper pads play in infant suffocation. The article reported that there have been 17 cases of infant deaths reported to CPSC that were not thoroughly investigated.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Kids In Danger has been selected as the recipient of crowdSPRING's latest Give Back project!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
KID recently met with Ken Levinson, the author of The Safest Line blog. Ken is a Chicago attorney. We asked him some questions about the blog and his thoughts on safety for children.
What led you to start The Safest Line?
My experience helping injured children (plus having three boys of my own) inspired me to take a proactive stance to prevent child injuries by showing parents how to become active proponents of their own children’s safety.
What are your goals for the blog and outreach?
Parents are bombarded daily with child safety messages and warnings that create an environment of fear. The Safest Line helps parents move past the noise by cutting to the safety issues that matter. As parents we can do a better job educating ourselves and our children about child safety to reduce the amount of child injuries that occur each year.
I also want parents to feel empowered to take a stand against careless corporations and individuals. Being a child injury lawyer helps, but in the age of social media, parents have a whole new way of alerting the public about dangerous products and behaviors. The online petition to ban crib bumpers is a great example of the proactive steps we can take to improve child safety.
If you had to give parents one piece of safety advice, what would it be?
Be alert, be proactive, and stay educated – but don’t be overprotective. We want to raise children who think for themselves. Find effective ways to instill safety values in your kids. If parents are always doing the thinking for their children, those kids miss out on learning experiences that will protect them when they grow up and experience more personal freedoms.
What is the attorney’s role in product safety?
Thanks Ken! You can read KID's blog post on The Safest Line here.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
After learning of another death, CPSC and Delta today re-announced the 2008 recall of almost one million drop-side cribs. The design of the crib relies on little plastic pegs to keep the drop-side in place. When they inevitably fall out unnoticed, the drop side can separate from the crib, causing a gap where a baby can be entrapped. A seven-month-old Colorado Springs girl died in 2009 after becoming entrapped. At the time of the initial recall, CPSC was aware of 1 death, 2 entrapments and nine disengagements due to the design. Today's announcement doesn't list any additional disengagements, although doesn't say there weren't any -- too bad the database wasn't up and running!
Monday, March 21, 2011
In the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until the child reaches maximum height and weight limit for the seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new child seat safety guidelines shortly after AAP's publication was released.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Consumers and others can report problems with products, incidents and injuries related to consumer products. CPSC has always had an online form for reporting, but now, most reports will become part of the public database.
Remember that this is a site to report safety issues, not product reliability or quality, except as they affect safety. So if the infant seat doesn't swing like it shows on the package, that is a quality issue, perhaps to be reported to customer service or an online product rating site. But if the motor that is supposed run the swing gets so hot it melts its casing and starts a fire, that is a safety issue and should be reported here, to CPSC.
Gather and input as much information about the product as possible – including identifying information such as model name or number, date of manufacture, etc. The more complete the report, the more likely it is to be posted and to provide CPSC with the information they need to assess the risk and take action if needed. CPSC has helpful pop-ups on the form that will help you find the needed information.
You need to provide your name and contact information for your incident to go into the database, but that information will not be posted and will only be released to the manufacturer with your permission. Giving the manufacturer your contact information, either through the CPSC form or by reporting directly to the manufacturer will allow them to fully investigate your incident and determine if action is needed. If you choose to file a report anonymously, CPSC will still get the incident information, but it will not go into the public database.
Manufacturers have 10 days after they are notified of a report by CPSC to review it for material inaccuracy. The best way to have the full 10 days is to register now with CPSC. The report will then be sent automatically.
Then, the report, if it has all the necessary information will be posted online. Right now, you can see the format here which CPSC has populated now with recall notices. Once the database has injury and incident reports, those will show up here too.
If you have problems reporting incidents or finding the data you need, let CPSC know. They already have great tools on the site to help both consumers and businesses navigate the system. We’d also love to hear of your experiences with the new database in the comments below.
Friday, March 11, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A coalition of consumer and safety groups today applauded the launch of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s consumer product safety information database that would allow people to share and access safety information about the products they own and consider buying.
The groups -- Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Kids In Danger, Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group -- hailed the launch as a major step forward in educating consumers about product safety hazards and improving the CPSC’s ability to identify and act on problems in the marketplace. The database is up and running today online at www.SaferProducts.gov.
The database is required under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) approved by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2008. As the debate over the federal budget continues in Congress, some lawmakers have pushed to defund the database. Manufacturers have also been pushing to undermine the database.
The CPSC has historically collected consumer complaints, but because the agency has been required to obtain the approval of companies before it could communicate with the public about a specific product, the information has been kept from the public for months or even years. The consumer complaint database will help shed light on the safety of products currently in the marketplace.
The CPSC database contains an array of protections to ensure that inaccurate information does not get published. Anonymous complaints will not be permitted, and only safety-related information will be posted. Complaints will not be considered for publication if 8 specific minimum fields are not completed. Businesses also get to see every report of harm before it is placed in the database, and have the opportunity to correct inaccurate information and to provide their own comments. These measures provide an appropriate balance between transparency for consumers and providing protections for manufacturers.
Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel at Consumer Federation of America, stated, “Consumers will no longer be left in the dark about product safety -- they will now have access to lifesaving information. The CPSC will also be able to more nimbly identify and act upon safety hazards. The database carefully balances the need to bring safety complaints to light, while also allowing manufacturers to review submissions and provide comments.”
Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, said, “This is safety news consumers can use. Once the database is up and running, we think fears raised about the database will be shown to be unnecessary. This database will be a useful tool for consumers.”
Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting children from unsafe products, added, “This crucial tool will help parents keep their families safe. The database will fling open the windows at CPSC and allow consumers to learn of dangerous products before it is too late. The decades of hiding injuries and deaths for months or even years will end. Parents trust a lot of products with their children’s lives. The database puts information in the hands of those who need it most.”
Christine Hines, Public Citizen’s consumer and civil justice counsel, agreed. “Today begins a new era in consumer product safety - one that will empower consumers to help themselves to identify hazardous products. That’s why it’s imperative that Congress follows up its commendable action in creating the database by ensuring it continues to thrive with appropriate funding.”
Liz Hitchcock, U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate, said, “The information exchange that SaferProducts.gov will provide for consumers is going to prevent injuries and save lives.”
Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., President of the National Research Center for Women & Families/ Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund stated, “The product safety database will give everyone the information they need to help protect themselves and their families. It’s a simple but effective strategy that will save lives and improve the quality of our lives.”
Celia Wexler, Washington Representative, Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists, said, "The new database strengthens the transparency of CPSC and will enable scientists and researchers, both inside and outside the agency, to spot trends early and pro-actively. The ability to respond to problems before product defects harm scores of consumers benefits both the public and businesses.”
Thursday, March 10, 2011
It feels a little like the eve of the first day of school – some of us are very excited and can’t wait; others, not so much.
Tomorrow, CPSC will launch their new publically-accessible consumer database at saferproducts.gov. Now, just as is already the case with cars, medicine and medical devices, consumers will have a place to report incidents with products as well as look for safety information that other consumers might have entered. Manufacturers seem to be dreading the change in the current situation – where they have all the power to determine what safety information consumers know about their products.
We'll have more tomorrow on using the database.
For today, here are some statements from parents who have already lost children to unsafe products – they know the importance of this new database.
The CPSC database gives parents, grandparents, families, friends, medical personnel, and even retailers, IMMEDIATE and FREE access to information regarding problems reported on a particular product, not just those few which rise to the surface because a child has either died or been seriously injured by the product. By that time, it is dangerously too late. It could take months, as it did in Ellie’s case, before the public has knowledge of this essential information.
Lisa, mother of Ellie who was killed in a Graco play yard with a changing table accessory in 2002.
I firmly believe that if such a database was in effect in the 1990s my son, Tyler, would be alive today. Tyler died when a dangerous drop side crib strangled him. Tyler was not the first (and sadly, not the last) to die due to the inherently flawed crib design. If I, as a consumer, knew about the other babies who died in drop side cribs I would never have purchased that deathtrap. A public database would have empowered me to make a more informed decision about a product intended to be my Tyler’s safe haven.
Michelle, mother of Tyler, who died in 1998, entrapped by a drop-side crib.
If I had known there had been children killed in drop-sides, it would have swayed me against them.
Nicola, mother of Liam, who died in 2005 in a Graco-branded Simplicity drop-side crib. The report to CPSC sat hidden for two years because of confusion over the manufacturer of the crib.
Nicola, mother of Liam, who died in 2005 in a Graco-branded Simplicity drop-side crib. The report to CPSC sat hidden for two years because of confusion over the manufacturer of the crib.
KID believes this database is an important tool for consumers – both to report information they believe will keep other consumers safe and to research products they own or are considering purchasing. It will give CPSC and others tools to identify emerging hazards and injury trends. Contrary to the fears of some – KID won’t be entering data – we’ll be too busy making sure parents are aware of this great safety resource.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Today, KID, along with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Illinois PIRG state director Brian Imus, released Moving Towards Safety, a review of 2010 recalls and CPSC actions.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The database CPSC has been working on for two and a half years is days away from launch. It will go live on Friday, March 11. CPSC has carefully crafted the site to both solicit important safety information from consumers and encourage accurate reporting. The database will provide consumers with a place to report injury and safety information and provide consumers, researchers and the CPSC with important information on injury trends and emerging hazards.
So the week spent with other product safety folks at the International Consumer Product Health and Safety (ICPHSO) Symposium was full of information and opportunities to collaborate on new approaches to safety. The first day and 1/2 of the meeting focused on injury prevention. Representatives from the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, including our 2007 KID's Best Friend, Dr. Elizabeth Powell, presented information on their research and education efforts. Then, through a series of workshops, representatives from industry, retailers and consumer groups brainstormed with them on injury prevention ideas we could all implement.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Where is one of the few places you can find consumer advocates, manufacturers, retailers, regulators, lawyers, test labs and consultants talking about product safety -- and let me add talking nicely to each other? It is the annual symposium and meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO), being held this week in Orlando, Florida. The organization's sole purpose is to put on these conferences, both here and internationally, to further efforts to improve product safety. You can hear some of the latest research, see new testing tools in exhibits, and participate in lively discussions on recalls, imports, oversight and more. KID has been participating since 2001 when our co-founder, Linda Ginzel, participated in a panel on Parents as Advocates. This year, we'll be on a panel about recalls and a discussion about working with the injury prevention community.
A study in the March issue of Pediatrics shows that as many as 26 infants and toddlers are rushed to emergency rooms each day for injuries involving cribs, play yards or bassinets. Most of the injuries (83%) are crib related. One of the lead authors on the study was Dr. Gary Smith, KID's Best Friend Award Honoree in 2010.
- checking their crib for loose or missing hardware,
- making sure their crib hasn't been recalled,
- Lowering the mattress setting to the lowest level when a child starts to push up on hands and knees,
- keeping the drop-side* in the top position,
- removing any soft bedding that can provide a foothold or suffocation risk,
- moving the child to a toddler bed or even a mattress on the floor as soon as they reach 2 years, 35 inches or show signs of attempting to climb out.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Without third-party testing to ferret out design flaws and other safety issues, the tough new mandatory standards won't mean much. After all, a ban was in place before the avalanche of toys recalled for lead paint in 2007 -- but with no independent testing, the tainted products were sold to our children anyway.
Without this public database, all of our efforts to make information about unsafe products available to the public will be undermined. The status quo, where public safety information is sealed away in CPSC files, serves no one -- except those making dangerous products. The CPSC database contains an array of protections to ensure that inaccurate information does not get published. Anonymous complaints will not be permitted, and only safety-related information will be permitted. Complaints will not even be considered for publication if 8 specific minimum fields are not filled out. Businesses also get to see every report of harm before it is placed in the database, and have the opportunity to correct inaccurate information and to provide their own comments. These protections are in place to provide transparency for consumers, while also providing protections for manufacturers.
Read this letter from Lisa Olney, whose daughter Ellie was killed in an unsafe portable crib for a personal testament to the importance of this database.
Contact your representatives immediately to tell them to oppose these attempts to hijack safety and to put the safety of our children first. The amendments to the Continuing Resolution (CR) are filed by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and are #545 (defunds the Database), #546 (defunds work to set rules for third party testing) and #547 (defunds CPSC's ability to accredit labs for third party testing for phthalates and toy testing) Click here to find and contact your representative!
A Sneak Preview for Supporters of Kids In Danger of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s New Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database
Posted February 16, 2011by Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the leading federal agency charged with ensuring the safety of consumer products. We protect families like yours from risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products, including items that many of you use every day, such as cribs, strollers, sleepwear, and toys.
From the first day I took over as Chairman of CPSC, I have been committed to making the agency more open to the public and to families. In just a few weeks, we will launch our biggest open-government project. Starting in March 2011, CPSC will unveil a new publicly searchable database of reports of harm we receive from consumers and others relating to the use of consumer products. The database will be posted on the website SaferProducts.gov. Kids in Danger supported the creation of this database and has provided valuable feedback during its development, along with many other CPSC stakeholders.
Before we launch the database, CPSC would like to provide you with a sneak peek at one way the database will work for parents and other consumers. We want you to become familiar with how the database can be used to report a harm or risk of harm relating to the use of a consumer product or search for reports and recall information on products that you own already or may be thinking of buying. Knowing how to use SaferProducts.gov will help you gain access to important safety information and become connected to the CPSC.
We urge all Kids In Danger supporters to click on this link to watch a video demonstration of the process for reporting an incident to CPSC. Please share this message with friends and family who you think would be interested. We hope you’ll connect with us on Twitter @OnSafety and through our blog, which aims to answer your questions.
We are grateful for the involvement of Kids In Danger in our new consumer database, and we look forward to our continued partnership to keep children and families safe!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Almost a year ago, NBC Target 5 reporter Lisa Parker reported on a father's efforts to alert the manufacturer, NHTSA and the public to a problem he found with his Dorel Juvenile Group car seat. He documented on a YouTube video that the harness could pull loose when it was supposed to be locked in place. This could prove dangerous in a crash -- allowing the occupant to fly out of the car seat or even if retained, suffer injuries from the additional movement allowed.
Friday, February 11, 2011
We posted a few weeks ago a recall that mysteriously showed up on the manufacturer's site (Summer Infant) and on Toys"R"Us, but not on CPSC's list of recalls. Many parents get their news of recalls from CPSC -- without that listing, parents using the product might be unaware of the dangers.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Use this link to purchase flowers or a gift for Valentine's Day and KID will receive $10 for each purchase - an easy way to support KID and surprise someone!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
With delays in publishing the rules for testing children's products for lead as well as an upcoming possible change in the lead content limit from 300 parts per million (ppm) to 100ppm, CPSC voted 4-1 today to extend the current stay on the testing and certification requirements in the CPSIA until the end of the year.
The ASTM 15-22 Committee on Toy Safety met Monday, January 31, 2011 in Baltimore. On the agenda were proposed changes to the F963 standard on toys. KID participated with Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union as consumer representatives along with manufacturers, testing labs and consultants.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Today on its SaferProducts.gov website, CPSC has begun taking reports of injuries or incidents with dangerous products -- a trial run of their Public Database required under CPSIA. The catch is that this trial (reports prior to March 11, 2011) will not be made public.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Not sure why this is not posted yet on CPSC, but both Babies"R"Us and Summer Infant have it posted on their websites:
Friday, January 7, 2011
This weekend, KID honors the memory of Andy Sage. Andy suffocated on a sleep positioner in January 2002. Since then, his parents have been committed to warning others of the dangers of this product. Just last year, CPSC and FDA finally warned parents about what the Sages and KID had been saying for years -- sleep positioners are dangerous and an unnecessary product. After that warning, manufacturers stopped making the product (we hope!) and they are no longer available on most retailer's shelves. But many are still in use or circulation and we urge parents to stop using this deadly product. As with bumpers, pillows and comforters, soft bedding has no place in a crib.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
With the new crib standards from CPSC published in the Federal Register last month, dates are now firm for compliance. The effective date of the standard is June 28, 2011. By that date all cribs sold -- new or used -- must meet the new standard. We'll be watching for word from retailers and manufacturers who might meet that threshold sooner. The mandatory standards only contain a very few changes from the voluntary industry standard that is already in effect.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Genny and her husband Hector Hernandez welcomed little Ana Maria on December 30. She joins big brother Mateo. Genny and Hector live in Rwanda now and you can follow their adventures here. We love hearing about child rearing in another place from Genny. She was one of the first full-time staffers at KID and helped put in place many of the office systems, outreach programs and communications we still use today!