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.

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