Baby Formula Recall Update: Mead Johnson Shares Test Slide with CDC and FDA

A third child has become ill due to a rare bacterial infection called Cronobacter sakazakii, and it is not yet known whether this is due to consumption of infant formula. ChildSafetyBlog.org readers will recall the sad news of last week and our posting about the 10-day old infant who had been given the formula, Enfamil Premium Newborn Powdered formula, contracted a bacterial infection called Cronobacter sakazakii, and died.

During the Christmas holidays, many stores besides Walmart — including Kroger’s, Safeway, Walgreen, and SuperValu, all pulled the 12.5 oz. containers of Lot No. ZP1K7G Enfamil Premium Newborn Powdered formula from their shelves. Mead Johnson Nutrition, the manufacturer, didn’t pull the product from its distributors or retailers, but began testing their products for the bacterium.

Now, a third child has come down with the rare bacterial infection of which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, ”Between four and six cases of cronobacter are reported in a typical year. So far, 10 cases have been reported in 2011 which is still within a normal range.” http://blogs.webmd.com/breaking-news/2011/12/third-baby-tests-positive-for-cronobacter.html

As of December 23, 2011, Mead Johnson Nutrition said all batches of Enfamil were tested for Cronobacter bacteria before they were shipped, and if an ingredient or batch are found to contain the bacterium, they are rejected. They also said “the lot used by the newborn’s family did not test positive for Cronobacter when the company tested it.” http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9RQDD881.htm

Mead Johnson Nutrition has been working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to test the formula. According to a statement from Mead Johnson, no traces of cronobacter have been found.

Also according to a posting on WebMD of December 28, 2011, “Although the babies in Illinois and Oklahoma had been given infant formula, it’s not yet known whether the formula was the source of the infection, according to a CDC spokesperson. The baby in Oklahoma was not fed Enfamil, and the baby in Illinois reportedly was fed several different types of formula. The CDC reports that state health authorities are currently testing the formulas and the water they were mixed with to determine the source of the infection and to uncover any possible links between the three cases. So far, no direct connections have been found.”  http://blogs.webmd.com/breaking-news/2011/12/third-baby-tests-positive-for-cronobacter.html

ChildSafetyBlog.org is following this news and will provide updates as we learn them.

Childhood Poisonings Increase

Recent data evaluated by Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, point to an increase in childhood poisonings; and it’s a startling fact that “more young children now visit the ER for drug poisonings than for car crashes.” According to the National Capital Poison Center, this is mostly due to the fact that adults are taking more medicines than ever before (especially to treat Type II diabetes) and there are more children who find, open and swallow prescription drugs in their homes.

The most dangerous medicines for children to consume are adult dosage drugs for:

  • Treating diabetes
  • Relieving pain (opioids)
  • Treating anxiety, muscle spasms and sleep disorders
  • Treating heart disease and high blood pressure

More adults are taking opioid narcotic pain relievers today than ever before, and these drugs, such as morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and others, can kill kids. The more medicines present in a home, the greater the chance for children to find and take pills that are not prescribed for them. Sadly, young children often mistake pills for candy.

While it may be inconvenient for parents and caregivers to keep medicine locked up, we highly recommend this practice. Drug and packaging firms have proposed some changes in packaging so children in the future will not be able to open multiple blister packs at once time and dispensers containing liquid medicines may only dispense a single dose at a time. But even child-resistant caps and major packaging changes won’t solve the entire problem.

Please review the following tips offered by The National Capital Poison Center:

  • Use child-resistant packaging. Replace caps tightly after each use.
  • Lock all medicines up high, out of sight and reach of children.
  • Take medicines when children aren’t looking, because children will imitate adults taking medicines.
  • Be sure that other family members and visitors are vigilant about locking up their medicines.
  • Take special care when traveling to be sure medicine is locked away from children.

If a child in your care swallows someone else’s medicine or too much medicine of any kind, DO NOT WAIT until the child becomes ill, but immediately call The Poison Center 1-800-222-1222. This number is in service 24 hours a day!

ChildSafetyBlog.org wishes you a very happy, safe and healthy New Year!

URGENT: Walmart Pulls Enfamil off Shelves Following Baby’s Death

Walmart has pulled Enfamil, the Mead Johnson baby formula, off its shelves in stores throughout the nation following the death of a10-day old infant due to a bacterial infection. The formula lot number pulled off the shelves is ZP1K7G.

According to a report by local television station KYTV, a 10-day-old infant died from a rare bacterial infection following the purchase of powdered Enfamil baby formula from a Walmart in Lebanon, Missouri.

Mead Johnson Nutrition, the company that produces the formula, is performing tests to determine whether the baby died due to ingesting the formula, the water that was mixed with the formula, or some other cause. Chris Perille, the company’s spokesperson, said the company is confident about the safety and quality of their products.

For more information on Enfamil or if consumers find they have this lot number ZP1K7G, please call Mead Johnson Nutrition at 1-800-BABY-123 or 1-800-222-9123.

Kids and Allergies–A Serious Concern, Even in Winter!

Often parents and caregivers become aware of children’s allergies in the spring, summer or fall when grass, tree and flower pollens, insect bites and leaf molds may cause problems. Yet allergies are problems for kids in the winter, too.

The degree of allergic challenge may depend partially on where you live. In an article for Parent’s Magazine, “Your 365 Day Guide to Allergies and Asthma,” Jeannette Moninger points out that “Children with asthma are particularly sensitive to the ozone in urban smog, which limits their ability to take deep breaths.” http://www.parents.com/kids/health/allergies/guide-seasonal-allergies-symptoms/?page=4But, whether you live in an urban or rural area, there are things parents can do to lessen the number of allergic challenges for kids in winter. Here are some tips:

  • Check the air filtration system on heat pumps and furnaces early in the season before you begin using heat regularly. Choosing air filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 10 or higher will help trap dust, pollen and mold particles. It helps to replace the air filters every three months or when the seasons change.
  • Make sure the accessible portion of vents and ducts are clean so when air blows through them, they are not blowing dust into a room.
  • There is no substitute for vacuum cleaning carpeting and rugs regularly. Dust clings to carpets and accumulated dust can cause breathing problems. If possible, take throw rugs out of doors to shake them thoroughly… you’ll be amazed at what flies off the rugs and into the air (in fact you may want to wear a mask when you do this!)
  • Parent’s Magazine suggests using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and if possible, cleaning when your child can be out of the house for several hours, especially if you’re going to be stirring up dust by taking down draperies or cleaning light fixtures.
  • Make sure window treatments are clean, both dust and lint-free. You may have to get up on a stool to check the tops of the curtains where dust can settle.
  • Dust hard surfaces of furniture with a soft, damp cloth. Dust base boards and trim around doors. Even ceiling fans can accumulate dust on their blades.
  • Vacuum up dust behind furniture, between furniture and walls and under beds (yes, you need to move the bed if possible).
  • Putting hypo-allergenic covers on bed pillows and mattresses cuts down on the habitation of dust mites in bedding. Washing blankets and quilts, as well as bed linens, and airing pillows also helps to get rid of dust mites, body and pet dander and pet hair too.
  • Disposing of old newspapers, magazines, empty boxes and trash regularly not only removes dust-catchers, it can reduce fire hazards as well.
  • If you have feline and canine pets that stay indoors during the winter, you may want to make sure they are brushed regularly. Frequent brushing rids them of excess hair and dander, and actually keeps them healthier too–and there will be less pet hair in the air and on the couch!
  • A few words about scented plants: Scented, flowering plants in your home and even holiday trees can trigger a sneezing fit or an asthma attack, so parents, please be aware of the kinds of plants or trees your children can tolerate in the house. Some people cannot tolerate the pollen of roses, poinsettias, gardenias, lilies or the oils in the leaves or sap of certain kinds of evergreens, such as cedar trees. Being aware of the plants and trees your child may be sensitive or allergic to is important. Potpourri and scented candles can be offenders too.
  • Fireplaces and wood smoke. Wood smoke can trigger an asthma attack. You may want to consider getting a gas fireplace for your home if your child is sensitive to wood smoke, or use electric heat.

Children with asthma can be very sensitive to cold air. It can constrict their airways. Make sure when your children go out of doors this winter they wear a scarf or mask over their nose and mouth to warm the air they breathe.

Knowing what your child may be allergic to is important. Following up an allergic experience or an asthma attack with allergy tests can help to determine whether your child has an allergy to medicine, food, dust, pollen or mold, and then these things can be more safely avoided.

Toy Safety This Holiday Season

Did you know that most toy purchases take place each year from Thanksgiving to Christmas? SafeKids encourages parents to educate themselves and offers the following safety tips for purchasing toys:

  • When purchasing toys for children, consider their ages and skill levels. Most toys have an age specification on the packaging, such as “For 3+” or “Not for Under 3 Years.”
  • Make certain toys for older kids are stored separately from those for younger children. Older children might receive toys with small, detachable parts, but are unlikely to put the parts in their mouths.
  • Make sure toys with small, detachable parts are kept away from children under 3 years old. Small, detachable parts are choking hazards.
  • Check the toys your children have for any damage or breakage that could cause injury.
  • Always supervise young children playing with toys that are battery-powered, electric, or operated by remote control. This season, particularly, watch out for toys that fly and toys that climb walls and can fall on children.
  • Always supervise young children playing with toys that have small balls, strings, small parts or contain magnets.
  • Always supervise children playing with any kind of riding toy or toys that might create a fall hazard, such as trampolines, swings or pogo-sticks or toys that resemble those. If you are thinking about purchasing a toy with wheels, you may also want to get a helmet to go with it.
  • Remember: According to SafeKids, active supervision means keeping children within sight and reach while paying undivided attention to them as they play.

And, as always, parents should stay informed about any unsafe toy products on the market by checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall website at http://www.recalls.gov and by checking in with us at http://www.ChildSafetyBlog.org.

Best wishes for a safe and happy ramp-up to this season of holiday gift-giving!

Children’s PJs Pose a Burn Risk

This week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of some Children’s Henley Pima Cotton Pajamas which did not meet the federal flammability standards for children’s pajamas and “pose a risk of burn injury to children.” Every year, according to the National Association of Fire Marshals, “more than 4,000 consumers suffer severe burn injuries and an estimated 150 or more die when their clothing ignites from even minimal exposure to ordinary household ignition sources.” http://www.firemarshals.org/programs/flammable-building-contents/wearing-apparel.

Approximately 2,300 units of these cotton PJs were recalled from the Bliss Collection of two-piece, cotton sleepwear sets, sizes 2 to 12. The pajamas are white, blue, pink or red colored fabric, and “Bella Bliss” is printed on the neck tag. The PJs were manufactured in Peru, imported to the U.S. and sold from the Bella Bliss catalog, the Bella Bliss website, and by specialty clothing retailers and online stores from January 2008 to June 2011 for approximately $48 to $58. Parents and caregivers should remove these PJs from the child’s clothing closet and return them to the store for a full refund, exchange or store credit. For additional information on this recall and return procedures, consumers may contact Bella Bliss’ toll-free number (866) 846-5295 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.bellabliss.com. To view a photo of the recalled PJs, please go to the CPSC website at:http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12053.html.

Children’s Sleepwear federal regulations, 16 C.F.R., Subchapter D, Parts 1615 & 1616, basically define what makes up children’s sleepwear and the processes for testing textiles used in children’s sleepwear, so that fabrics used are tested for flammability before garments are introduced into the marketplace. The Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA), enacted by the U. S. Department of Commerce, is enforced by the CPSC and contains the standards by which clothing textiles are tested and regulated for flammability. The FFA was passed in 1953 in response to public outcry over a several serious burn accidents that involved brushed rayon, high-pile sweaters, known as “torch sweaters”, and children’s cowboy chaps which could catch fire easily and flash burn. Lightweight rayon, cotton fleece garments and clothing made of extremely lightweight silk also pose serious burn risks.

Children’s sleepwear is usually made from polyester fiber and is subject to more strict flammability standards than other clothing on the market. Testing requirements for children’s sleepwear specify that all garments and fabrics used in children’s sleepwear must self-extinguish when exposed to a small, open flame. Passing the flame test doesn’t mean that a garment is not flammable, however. Clothing can still catch fire and burn–just not as easily as certain other fabrics. The federal flammability regulations also recommend that children not wear loose-fitting sleepwear, which also poses a burn hazard. The language describing flammability of clothing also can be confusing: Garments are referred to as flame resistant if the fabric meets the CPSC guidelines without requiring a chemical treatment. (A fire retardant garment is one that has been chemically treated to resist burning when a flame is present.)  But parents should note that heated fabrics can also melt causing injury!

There are stiff penalties for violations of these FFA regulations. “The manufacture for sale, the sale, or the offering for sale of any product, fabric, or related material which fails to comply with an applicable standard or regulation issued under the FFA is prohibited. The FFA provides for civil penalties of up to $6,000 per product involved with any violation, and a maximum penalty of up to $1.5 million for any related series of violations.” When clothing catches fire, it is serious. Parents need to pay attention to flammability of children’s clothing, and be informed by reading the hang-tags and the manufacturers’ notices attached to the garments they purchase for their children and by checking the CPSC recall notices. http://www.fabriclink.com/university/code.cfm

We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season!

Bumbo Baby Seats — A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Checking the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website for toy recalls this week, we were alerted to a major warning for parents, family members, and caregivers of young children, particularly infants, about “Bumbos.”

What is a Bumbo? Bumbos are baby seats made in South Africa by Bumbo International and imported to the U.S. They are made of brightly colored, usually aqua or purple, plastic. Apparently, the inherent danger is that infants, from three to ten-months old, when placed in a Bumbo baby seat, can fall or escape from the seat by arching backward, leaning forward or sideways or rocking. In October 2007, there was a recall of the Bumbo baby seat when Bumbo and the CPSC learned of approximately 45 incidents in which babies fell from the baby seat while it was being used on an elevated surface, such as a table top or counter. In 17 of those incidents, babies suffered skull fractures.

Even more shocking, the CPSC and Bumbo International have been notified of 50 more incidents involving babies falling or maneuvering out of the Bumbo baby seat when it was placed on the floor. Those events included 2 reports of babies suffering skull fractures and one of concussion. The CPSC recall announcement says, “The Bumbo seat is labeled and marketed to help infants sit in an upright position as soon as they can support their head.”

Even though the product warnings state that the seat “may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement,” we think the CPSC warning should go out to parents in the form of an “All Points Bulletin”, because these seats apparently sold like hot-cakes–and everybody has them! Approximately 3.85 million Bumbo baby seats have been sold in the United States since 2003 — at about $40 — that’s approximately $154 million, depending on whether they were purchased at full price.

If you have one of these jewels in your home, please note that the “CPSC and Bumbo International are now aware of at least 46 falls from Bumbo seats used on elevated surfaces that occurred prior to the 2007 recall, resulting in 14 skull fractures, two concussions and one incident of a broken limb.”

One retailer’s advertisement for the Bumbo baby seat indicates they sold for $39.99. The advertisement said, “The Bumbo Baby Seat is cleverly designed to support babies and allows little ones to sit up independently. Made from a single piece of latex-free, low-density, lightweight foam, the Bumbo Seat provides a snug and comfortable environment for your baby to sit in during feedings, play time or quality time with the family. The Bumbo Baby Seat requires no straps or fasteners to hold your baby in place and helps babies make the transition to sitting upright.”

To view a photo of a Bumbo baby seat, go to the CPSC website: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12047.html

At this time there appears to be no provision for a refund or replacement. Childsafetyblog.org suggests parents remove this baby seat from their homes.