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.

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