Monday, April 25, 2011

KID has a new Blog!

As we mentioned in the last post, KID has moved our blog to be more integrated into our website -- you can find new posts here. This page will remain up for a while, but set your bookmarks for

Friday, April 22, 2011

KID to launch new website!

Late today, KID is switching over to a new website -- we've listened to what parents, caregivers, advocates and others want to see and made some amazing changes. We think you'll find the new KID website easier to use and navigate and a wealth of information to access while working to keep children safe.

Our blog too is moving to be better integrated into our web presence. But don't worry, all our older posts can still be found there including some of our most popular such as Back-to-School Safety and CPSC, FDA issue warning on sleep positioners.

So, next time you type in, we hope you'll take a look around our new site and give us feedback in the blog comments. Many thanks to our designer Amy Cordell and site builder Seventhfury.

In the meantime, if the transfer hits a few bumps or snags, we'll have it fully operational by Monday. You can email us here if you run into problems.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CPSC database now has over 200 incidents posted; survived appropriation process

First, thanks to all of you who emailed or called Congress expressing your support for the new consumer incident database,, at CPSC. If you haven't visited yet, check out the Search page and see what incidents consumers have already filed.

But during last weekend's debate on keeping the government open, discussion of eliminating funding for this important safety program continued. In the end, the final agreed bill did not include a defunding of the database. It did however contain a required study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to be conducted within 180 days.

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.
However, with spending discussions continuing in Congress, additional action could still be taken. But having spent the money to conduct this study, any possible changes to the database should wait for any results.

Friday, April 8, 2011 now has consumer reports posted, 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.

The reports are varied. Some cover known hazards such as crib failures, fingertip amputation hazards in strollers, and the continuing reports of rashes from diapers. Others raise new potential issues: loosening hardware on cribs, breaking toys and rattles releasing small parts, and possible design problems in other products.

Also of interest is the manufacturer response. Some, use the comment space to indicate a real commitment to safety, while others reassert their compliance with voluntary standards or to even negate the parent's report.

One report, while including a catalog page with the exact product reported, included a business response that the information was insufficient to tell if it was their product. Huh?

So please, take a look for yourselves and let us know what you think about the database -- will it be a useful tool for researching product safety or identifying emerging hazards? It might be a little hard to tell with just a week's worth of reports, but we'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment here or on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

House subcommittee grills safety advocates

At yesterday's hearing to begin the dismantling of the 2008 safety law which includes key provisions on juvenile product safety named for Danny Keysar, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade seemed unwilling to consider that their "wrecking ball" approach (as noted by Representative Waxman (CA-30)) might be unwise. Most of the questioning was reserved for the few safety advocates and its intent seemed more to score points than learn helpful information to construct a narrow approach to give flexibility rather than gut safety provisions. It appears that if we hope to keep safety laws intact, with minor adjustments to address concerns raised by handmade and very small toymakers, this might not be the committee to do that. However, Chairman Bono Mack did indicate a willingness to work with Congressman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) on cribs and other juvenile product safety issues. We'll continue to hope!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This morning, a House Committee looks at gutting CPSIA

This morning in Washington, DC, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade is holding a hearing on proposed changes to the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Hearing from three panels, mostly of industry representatives, the subcommittee will look at far reaching changes including changing the requirement that all children's products should be lead-free, eliminating independent testing for most children's products and allowing cribs that could be unsafe to remain in child care facilities.

We'll have an update after the hearing, but were reassured that at least the majority of the commissioners at CPSC still support strong safety measures. Read their analysis of the legislation here and Rachel Weintraub's testimony here. Rachel is with the Consumer Federation of America and a past KID's Best Friend honoree -- you can see why!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Arm's Reach Bed-Side Sleepers RECALLED

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.

Infants are at risk of falling from the raised mattress to the loose fabric at the bottom of the sleeper or possibly suffocating by becoming entrapped between the mattress and the sleeper. 10 reports have been filed with CPSC and Arm's Reach, citing infants falling or becoming entrapped.

The recall includes all bed-side sleepers manufactured between September 1997 and December 2001. Model number and manufacture date can be found on a sticker on one of the product's legs. The recall includes model numbers that begin with:

Originals: 8108, 8133, 8111, 8112 & 8199
Universal: 8311

CPSC suggests that consumers stop using the product immediately. Visit to download instructions to make sure your sleeper is assembled correctly before continuing use. Consumers can contact Arm's Reach at (800) 954-9353 or a

Ten reports of potentially entrapped infants is troubling and just telling parents to read the instructions again doesn't seem much of a remedy. Be very careful using this product and discontinue use until you check your assembly for any potential gaps. Bedside sleepers can form dangerous gaps between the adult bed and the product if it isn't tightly installed, only on beds with a box spring and mattress configuration. Report any concerns with your bedside sleeper or other products to

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Proposal before House Committee will gut the Danny Keysar Act and leave children vulnerable

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

Hiking for Aiden

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.

After the death of her grandson, Tami started a blog, Tami's Mental Meanderings, devoted to sharing the message of safe sleep to others to protect children and those who love them from suffering the pain her family experienced. It was here that she announced her plan to hike along the Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mount in Georgia to Mount Katandin in Maine.

For Aiden with Love is a foundation started by Vanderwilt in memory of her grandson. She is raising money through the foundation to help fund organizations, including KID and First Candle, whose missions align with her efforts to spread the word about safe sleep. Anyone interested in donating to For Aiden with Love can find more information on Tami's blog or click here for a direct link to the donation page.

While Tami is advocating for safe sleep practices, the hazards of bumper pads and the lack of response from the CPSC is getting public exposure. The Chicago Tribune ran an article yesterday highlighting stories of babies suffocating because of bumper pads. The article also criticizes CPSC for dragging their feet on investigating submitted reports and possibly laying blame elsewhere. See more in our blog post here.

Failed Investigations on Crib Bumper Safety

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.

Although they had not investigated them, CPSC says other crib items such as blankets and pillows or even medical conditions could be to blame in these 17 infant deaths.

"If the baby was found with the face smushed up against the bumper pad, then I don't understand the relevance of the pillow or the blanket," said Dr. Rachel Moon, a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center and researcher for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Bumper pads were originally created to cover the space between crib slats that were too far apart. The space between slats was reduced, but they are still being sold 40 years later and are causing an unnecessary hazard.

The Chicago Tribune also published an article in December 2010 on the hidden hazards of bumper pads. This article featured the stories of Preston and Aiden, two babies who lost their lives to bumper pads. The article also states that federal regulators have known about the hazards of bumper pads for years but has failed to warn parents and remove the item from stores. A study done by Washington University pediatrician Bradley Thach concluded that over two decades, at least 27 infant deaths have been attributed to bumper pads. Again, the Tribune article shows CPSC downplaying the role of bumper pads in infant deaths, claiming there were other contributing factors in each case.

KID recommends that babies be put to sleep on their backs in a bare crib without pillows or soft bedding present in their cribs. KID wrote a blog post on the December 2010 article found here.

Check out our other blog post today on Aiden's grandmother's mission to raise funds and awareness of this issue with a hike along the Appalachian Trail -- starting April 1.

Monday, March 28, 2011

KID chosen for crowdSPRING's next Give Back project

Kids In Danger has been selected as the recipient of crowdSPRING's latest Give Back project!

Based in Chicago, crowdSPRING is a web and graphic design website specializing in giving access to creative talent from all over the world. Their goal is to present businesses with new, more affordable ways to buy creative products.

In 2008, crowdSPRING started a project called Give Back, the online web designers "way of helping worthy non-profit and charity causes in need." A creative (their name of a designer) suggested that crowdSPRING develop a way for other creatives to learn from each other's work. The Give Back project was born from this suggestion.

crowdSPRING has designed for companies such as Starbucks, Livestrong, Forbes and LG, although they cater to smaller businesses.

Calling all designers!! Submit your designs for KID's project on today!

View the official blog post announcing KID as the new Give Back recipient here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Safest Line: a blog for parents

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?

Traditionally, child injury lawyers haven’t become involved until after the child is injured. Unfortunately, this role will always exist, but I think we have an obligation to do more to prevent child injuries by better promoting child safety. I want to help families hold careless companies and people accountable, but I also want fewer dangerous products on the market. I firmly believe that one child injured is one too many.

Thanks Ken! You can read KID's blog post on The Safest Line here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CPSC and Delta reannounce recall of deadly cribs

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!

These cribs were initially recalled because the tiny pegs come out of the crib leg, allowing the drop-side to push free and cause an entrapment hazard. It was recalled at the same time as another 600,000 Delta drop-side cribs using a different attachment mechanism that also fell out, causing entrapments and one death. Then last year, Delta recalled an additional 747,000 cribs whose drop-side mechanisms failed.

While CPSC has exerted strong leadership in pushing for a rigorous mandatory standard for cribs that will eliminate this dangerous design, they dropped on the ball on this re-release. Their main safety message delivered by Chairman Tenenbaum in the release? Be careful when you buy second-hand! Not that these products were unsafe from the day they were made and parents should avoid all drop-side cribs. Checking second hand products against the list of recalls and for safety goes without saying. But the reason to check is because these products are hazardous to begin with, not because they are second-hand.

So we'll say it -- Delta has recalled over 2.3 million drop-side cribs because the drop side hardware fails. Don't buy or use these cribs. It doesn't matter if you are the first or the tenth user -- they are unsafe. And while the recall announcement calls for Delta to send out more little plastic parts that they want you to check continuously to make sure they stay in -- don't. Just don't use these cribs-- they aren't safe.

UPDATE: A call to Delta confirms that there are no immobilizers available for this style drop-side crib. So we restate our warning -- do not use these cribs, with or without the new plastic 'safety' plugs!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

AAP and NHTSA -- new guidelines for car seats

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.

Both AAP and NHTSA suggested parents check the maximum height and weight limit on their child's seat before moving them up to the next type of seat. They also suggested older children should ride in a booster seat until they reach 4 feet 9 inches and are between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. At this time, a regular seat belt should fit them properly.

“A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body,” Dr. Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP said. “For larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.” Previous policy cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as the minimum for transitioning a child out of a rear-facing car seat.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland pointed out that while all car seats sold in the U.S. must meet federal child restraint safety standards, he said, "Selecting the right seat for your child can be a challenge for many parents. NHTSA's new revised guidelines will help consumers pick the appropriate seat for their child."

As always, children should ride in the backseat of a vehicle until they are 13 years old. Learn more at AAP's Health Children site.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More on the database, four days after launch

Have you gone to check out That's the new CPSCsite dedicated to the publicly available consumer safety incident database.

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

Important Consumer Tool Launched Today

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

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 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

Tomorrow is the day

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 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.

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

KID releases Moving Toward Safety, a review of 2010 recalls and CPSC actions

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.

Just about every two days there was a recall of a children’s product in 2010. These 160 recalls account for over 44 million individual toys, cribs, sweatshirts, strollers and more. That’s an increase of twelve percent from 2009 in recalls and 110% in units recalled.

At first glance these facts seem to indicate that the state of children’s product safety had worsened in the last year. However, though the number of recalls and the number of children hurt and killed by unsafe products is cause for concern, there were marked improvements to product safety oversight in 2010 as a result of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and other CPSC actions. We believe that many of these actions will not only reduce recalls in the future, but make it more likely recalled products will be retrieved from use.

The increase in recalls from 2009 can be partially attributed to the numerous recalls to remove from use failure-prone drop-side cribs which have been linked to dozens of deaths, as well as children’s sweatshirts and outerwear that continue to be produced with dangerous drawstrings.

The recalls show that we still have a long way to go before children are fully protected from unsafe products, but at the same time CPSC has taken actions that have had a measurable and positive impact on safety. We can take heart that we are moving in the right direction.

Read more.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Days away from launch, public safety database still faces threats.

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.

The CPSC did a soft launch of the database last month. That just means it was live, but the information wasn't made public. The results? 900 reports -- only four were 'materially inaccurate.' And two of those had the wrong manufacturer listed and were easily corrected. One manufacturer/importer at ICPHSO last week said that of the 50 reports they got, 90% agreed to give the manufacturer their contact information, providing a way to verify the information. Some manufacturers told us they didn't receive any reports during the month, others that they had a few and all were reasonable reports of a consumer's experience. So perhaps the sky won't fall next week after all.

But that doesn't stop the attacks. After all, for years manufacturers have been able to hide virtually all injury reports from the public. The status quo means consumers continue to use products that have been involved in numerous injuries or even deaths. The sunshine the database brings means more educated consumers and ultimately, safer products.

The House adopted an amendment to the Continuing Resolution they sent to the Senate that defunds the database -- a move that wastes the money already spent rather than saving money and is designed to stop injury data from coming to light.

If you haven't already contacted your US Senators, please do so and urge them to oppose any "Keep American Families in the Dark" efforts to stop the database.

Update on ICPHSO

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.

Dr. Powell was joined by two other KID's Best Friend honorees -- Dr. Gary Smith (2010) who spoke on his research on smoke alarms and children and Rachel Weintraub (2004) of Consumer Federation of America who organized and moderated the injury prevention segments.

KID's executive director, Nancy Cowles spoke on a panel on recalls. She stressed the need for better recall effectiveness and the rights of consumers to have information on product hazards. In addition, Cowles participated in an injury prevention workshop on toy and home safety.

Much of the conference was dedicated to new changes from CPSC including the database and testing requirements.

We also saw new tools such as the HD XRF machine which can detect heavy metals with more precision than regular XRF guns.

CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum spoke and on the final day, CPSC Commissioner and business school professor, gave a talk on negotiating with the CPSC.

More info and membership information can be found at

Monday, February 21, 2011

ICPHSO Annual Meeting this week

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.

New research in Pediatrics shows 26 crib-related injuries per day

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.

Much attention (rightly) has been focused on suffocation and strangulation deaths in poorly designed cribs or those with hardware problems. But this study highlights that most injuries involving cribs are related to falls. Some of the falls are also hardware related when a side rail comes loose or may be caused by mattresses set too high, children still sleeping in cribs when they can attempt to climb out or soft bedding that provides a foothold for climbers.

Parents can prevent injuries by
  • 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.
Check KID's or CPSC's crib pages for more information.

The data in the study will be useful to CPSC and ASTM International as they look for design changes or stronger warnings to prevent falls and other injuries.

*The drop-side is dangerous for many other reasons too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't let them hijack safety -- attempts to gut CPSC funding for critical safety measures

Amendments to vital funding measures are currently being considered in the US House of Representatives that would gut key safety provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Under threat is the funding for the public database that is set to help consumers learn of and report unsafe products and the third-party testing provisions that are helping to ensure the safety of toys and other children's products.

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.

And don't be fooled -- the small amount this will save won't balance the budget -- these cuts are specifically targeted to stop safety measures already approved by Congress.

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!

UPDATE: Amendment 545 is up for discussion today! Call or email your Congressional Representative. Click here to find and contact your representative!

A special guest blog by CPSC Chair Tenenbaum: Sneak Preview of the Database

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, 2011

by 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 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 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 800,000 Dorel car seats recalled for faulty harness systems

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.

That was early 2010, now a year later, NHTSA and Dorel announced the recall today for thousands of car seats manufactured between April 2008 and the end of May 2009. The brand names are varied and include Safety First, Eddie Bauer, Dorel and others as well as both convertible seats, infant seats and those sold with travel systems -- so if you have a Dorel car seat -- check the recall notice. has taken the time to correlate model numbers with brands and names.

Dorel is providing lubricant which is intended to make the latch work as required. NHTSA is asking for anyone having harness issues with one of these car seats to report it through It is interesting to note that the date NHTSA's official investigation was opened(3/5/10) corresponds exactly to NBC Target 5's story on the air! Our friends at Safety Squad are quoted in the story as well!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Summer Infant recalls video baby monitor for burns AND strangulation hazard

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.

So today CPSC did list the recall for overheating batteries in Summer Infant Slim & Secure Baby Video Monitors. Summer Infant will provide new battery units for affected units.

But in addition, CPSC listed a recall of most Summer Infant baby monitors for cord strangulation hazards. Summer Infant will provide new instructions and warning labels to let parents know that a monitor should never be placed within three feet of a crib.

We'll have more on this, but wanted to get the links out -- here is CPSC's warning on monitor cord dangers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Support KID when you buy flowers for your sweetie (or anyone!)

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

CPSC votes 4-1 to extend stay on lead testing

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.

This means that while manufacturers still have to meet the current 300ppm limit of lead content in products intended for children under 12, they don't have to prove they have met it through testing or certification.

We urge CPSC to finish the rules, including a process for component testing, so the law can be fully implemented.

ASTM toy standard committee meets in Baltimore

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.

Some of the issues discussed were strengthening provisions on hazardous magnets in toys, yo-yo water balls, and heavy metals such as cadmium.

ASTM F963 standard is written into the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and toy makers are required to meet the provisions in the standard.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Land of Nod recalls 300 drop-side "Rosebud" cribs

CPSC and Land of Nod announced a recall today of 300 "Rosebud" drop-side cribs. The cribs pose (as do most drop-side cribs) a risk of entrapment and suffocation. These cribs were sold in 2003 and 2004. While no injuries or deaths were reported, the company and CPSC cite 13 reports of failing drop-side hardware -- almost 5% of the cribs sold were reported to be faulty. It is not clear from the information released when the reports of failure began to surface and how long this recall was in the works.

We applaud Land of Nod for stepping up to the plate now and providing a full refund ($599) for this dangerous crib. The crib's manufacturer, Status Furniture, is out of business.

If you have this crib, please stop using immediately and find a safe place for your baby to sleep until you can get a new crib.

With over 10 million cribs recalled since 2007, consumers should all check their crib against the CPSC's list of crib recalls. You can find more safety information on cribs on CPSC's Crib Information Center as well as KID's website.

Monday, January 24, 2011

CPSC announces "soft launch" of consumer database

Today on its 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.

CPSC is announcing this soft-launch to test the reporting form and make sure it all runs smoothly for the real launch in March. But even though the reports won't be public, they will be used in CPSC investigations of product hazards.

Businesses can also register to expedite the process of learning about consumer reports and responding.

We'll try to get more information about the process during this trial, but if you have an incident to report -- your child was injured, a toy appears dangerous, etc, please give this new system a try and let KID know what you think in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Summer Infant recalls battery from color video baby monitor

Not sure why this is not posted yet on CPSC, but both Babies"R"Us and Summer Infant have it posted on their websites:

Summer Infant recalls the batteries from their Slim and Secure Handheld Color Video Monitor. The battery can overheat and rupture -- the company has five reports of incidents involving some property damage, but no injuries.

The batteries are in video monitors sold from June 09 through May 10 and there is more information at Summer Infant's website about identifying affected units. Those who have the affected units can get a replacement battery from the company.

This is the second recall since August of overheating or malfunctioning monitors. The last recalls were in 2003. It appears that this might be a product class that needs additional scrutiny -- no one wants a fire or even a rupturing battery in a nursery! CPSC also issued an alert about monitor cord hazards last year.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Remembering Andy Sage

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.

Andy left behind not only his parents, but a twin brother and a little sister he never got to meet. Andy's family members have been strong supporters of KID, holding several New York based events to raise awareness. Judy Sage, his mom, serves on our board of directors. Because of the Sages' efforts, babies now sleep safer.

And there is another legacy as well. When Andy's grandmother died in 2008, the family directed memorial gifts to KID. With those, KID launched the Debby Sayah Grandparent Outreach Program. This project recognizes the important role grandparents play and gives them the tools they need to keep their beloved grandchildren safe.

So join us this weekend in honoring Andy's memory. Share our life saving resources with the grandparents in your child's life and learn more about safe sleep.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Alert to Child Care Providers: Information on new crib requirements

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.

Because of the nature of cribs -- children spend long hours, often unattended or at least assumed to be safe, in them -- additional requirements are added to this standard. Any crib in a public accomodation -- hotel, guest house or child care facility -- must also meet the new standard. But CPSC extended that date by 18 months, giving facilities until December 28, 2012 to comply. Again, we'll be watching for word from providers or larger chains who may comply sooner. Facilities using mesh sided portable cribs are not affected by this provision, although these cribs should be checked against the CPSC recall list and for any wear and tear damage that might make them unsafe.

This requirement might seem overwhelming to child care providers and there may be confusion about how to make sure the cribs currently being used are safe and how to comply with the new requirement by the deadline.

KID wants to help. We will be updating this blog regularly with information for providers and working with allies in the child care field to make sure all providers learn of the new standards and requirements and are given the information they need to comply.

We will also develop an email listserve just on child care and product safety issues, including the crib standards. To join this list, sign up here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Congrats to former KID staffer Genny Kirk

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!

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