Friday, March 11, 2011

New KID report shows progress on children’s product safety; highlights importance of public database

Today's guest blog is by Kids in Danger (KID). KID is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting children by improving children's product safety.

KID has released a new resource for consumers, Moving towards Safety, a report on 2010 recalls and CPSC actions that impact safety. The report shows that while 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.

Children’s products still recalled frequently: There was a recall for children’s products roughly every two days in 2010. In total, 160 recalls accounted 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. Download the full report (pdf) to review the rest of the findings.

Steps in the right direction: At first glance these numbers seem to indicate that the state of children’s product safety had worsened in the last year. However, through CPSIA and CPSC actions, we’ve seen heartening improvements to product safety oversight in 2010:

  • CPSC and FDA issued a warning on sleep positioners that promoted most retailers to stop selling these unnecessary and dangerous products.
  • CPSC issued alerts on the safe use of baby slings.

KID believes 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.

Let there be light: The mounting injuries and deaths associated with unsafe children’s products confirm that recall information is still not effectively reaching families and caregivers. To this point, the public has had virtually no access to injury and incident reports submitted to CPSC. The way it works, CPSC has to get manufacturers to agree to a voluntary recall, a process that takes time, and in the interim caregivers continue to unknowingly use products that pose dangerous hazards to children. We see the evidence of this from the report: For nursery products, the category of children’s products with the highest number of recalls, there were 108 reports of injury prior to recalls. One toy, the Step2 Push Buggy, had 28 individual reports of injuries before the recall. And many of the deaths had reports of injury or incidents of product failure before the deaths.

As required through CPSIA, CPSC is preparing to launch a publicly accessibly database that will help tremendously in this area. Set to go live on March 11th, this 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 new database will allow consumers to access reports about unsafe products in a timely manner, so that preventable injuries can be avoided.

However, U.S. House of Representatives has adopted an amendment to a spending bill that defunds the CPSC database. If accepted in the Senate version of the funding bill, this will once again drop the veil of silence over injury reports collected from consumers. KID urges consumers to contact your senators and tell them to oppose these attempts to hijack safety and ask them to put the safety of our children first.

How to protect your children: KID recommends that parents check the products used with their children at and sign up for safety updates at In addition, parents should report problems with a product both to the manufacturer and to CPSC at the new database,, and urge elected representatives to protect CPSIA’s provisions and make children’s product safety a priority.

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