Some Recalled Products Are Still Out There!

By Marianne Frederick

Parents and caregivers may be dismayed to learn that some recalled products are still out there and kids are playing with and using them. With the tremendous amount of information available about recalls, one could assume that parents and caregivers are aware of children’s toy, clothing, furniture, medicine and even nutritional product recalls. After all, there’s the Internet, most recalls of children’s products get a sound byte on the TV news programs and videos of faulty products make the rounds on social networking sites. But the truth is some products which have been recalled, have been re-sold. Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that some products originally sold by Meijer were found to have been resold by discounters after the products had been recalled. The products originally recalled were found to have been subsequently offered for sale at discount retailers, dollar stores, liquidation firms, flea markets and thrift stores nationwide at various prices. Those products include:

  • The Infantino “Sling Rider” Baby Sling - the Sling Rider baby sling was originally recalled in March 2010. The dates it continued to be resold were from March 2010 through July 2011. The reason for the recall was the slings posed a suffocation hazard to infants and children younger than 4 months old. If you have purchased one of these baby slings, please contact Infantino toll-free at 1(866) 860-1361 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.infantino.com.
  • Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Kick n’ Crawl Aquarium (H8094) – The original recall date was September 2010. It also continued to be resold from September 2010 through July 2011. The reason for the recall was the inflatable ball in the toy which can become detached from the toy and pose a choking hazard to young children. Consumers can call Fisher-Price at 1(800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.service.mattel.com.
  • Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand n’ Play Rampway - The toy was originally recalled in September 2010. It continued to be resold from September 2010 through July 2011. The reason the toy was recalled was wheels on the purple and the green cars can become detached from the toy, again, posing a choking hazard to young children.
  • Munchkin Bathtub Subs - This was originally recalled October 18, 2010–The hazard was the intake valve on the bottom of the submarine toy can suck up loose skin, posing laceration hazard to children. This product, too, continued to be sold after its recall date until July 2011. Parents can call Munchkin at (877) 242-3134 anytime or visit the company’s website at http://www.munchkin.com.
  • Fisher-Price Barbie Tough Trikes (M5727) and Fisher-Price Kawasaki Tough Trikes-Both recalled September 2010 and continued to be sold until July 2011. The hazard was the child can strike, sit or fall on the protruding plastic ignition key resulting in serious injury.

As parents and caregivers, we also need to think “caveat emptor” for “Buyer beware!”– or Be Aware of children’s products which look like they might not be safe. If it looks unsafe, if it has too many small parts, has too sharp edges, makes too loud noises, or like it might not roll safely or sit well, yes, be aware of possible safety concerns. You can always leave it on the shelf and check it out on the CPSC.gov recall website before purchasing, and please continue to follow us on Childsafetyblog.org so we can keep you informed.

Safety 1st™ Unsafe Cabinet Locks Recalled

Posted by Marianne Frederick

It’s ironic, isn’t it? “Safety 1st” Push n’ Snap Cabinet locks are being recalled because the locks fail. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in cooperation with Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG) Inc., of Columbus, Indiana, is recalling 900,000 of these locks made in China and imported to the U.S., because children can gain access to things which may be unsafe. The product was sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond, retail stores throughout the U.S. and by Amazon’s online store for approximately $2 to $4, from January 2004 through February 2012.

According to the CPSC, 200 reports have been received by the company, DJG, about faulty locks which did not completely secure cabinets. Some reports noted the locks were damaged. DJG has also been made aware that 140 children from 9 months to 5 years old were able to disengage the locks and gained access to the cabinet’s contents. Three children who were able to gain access to items in the cabinets with faulty locks either “handled or swallowed” dishwashing detergent, window cleaner or oven cleaner. The children were treated and released from emergency rooms.

This recall includes Safety 1st Push ‘N Snap Cabinet locks model numbers 48391 and 48442. The model numbers are located on the back of the product and on packaging. The locks are supposed to secure cabinets with two straps that wrap around knobs or handles on a cabinet door. Locks manufactured between January 2004 and November 2010 are being recalled. The date of manufacture (DOM) is embossed on the back of the lock. A green triangle on the device is supposed to indicate that the product is in the lock position.

Consumers should immediately remove the locks from their cabinets and contact the company for a free replacement. Consumers should pay special attention to the contents of cabinets that are no longer locked and remove any dangerous items from children’s access. To contact DJG toll free, consumers may call 1 (866) 762-3212 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.djgusa.com.

To view photos of the locks being recalled, please visit the CPSC website at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12136.html.

Keeping Kids Safer by Preventing Unintentional Poisoning

Posted by Marianne Frederick

This week is National Poison Prevention Week. You may be aware of poison prevention events in your local community, heard community service announcements on the TV, or seen posters on display in your community with the National Poison Control Center’s number 1-800-222-1222. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are telling us that deaths from unintentional poisoning in the United States have increased by 160% from 1999 through 2009 and are continuing to rise. It is a stunning fact that 87 people die every day from unintentional poisoning and another 2,777 are treated in the emergency rooms of hospitals daily. Most accidental poisonings of adults are drug overdoses. More than 60,000 young children are seen in emergency departments each year because they had access to their parents’ medicines when parents or caregivers were not aware.

So how can we keep our kids safe from unintentional poisoning? What are the major causes of unintentional poisoning? Did you know that a poison can be anything when too much of it is consumed by eating, injecting, inhaling or absorbing it through the skin? Even medicines can be poisons if a person takes an overdose.

As parents and caregivers, the best place to begin is the medicine cabinet. Keep any medicines you take locked up high… away from curious young children. Even young children are pretty resourceful when it comes to climbing and opening medicine cabinets, so if you can keep your meds locked up, it helps (and, yes, there are lockable medicine chests). Here are a few more tips, courtesy of the CDC, to help prevent the unintentional poisoning of kids, yourself and your family:

  • Never share prescription meds with others (children or adults). Give your children only the prescription medicines which have been prescribed for them.
  • Never give a larger dose to children than is prescribed by your physician or recommended on the label of the medicine. If you have a question about a child’s prescription, always ask your pharmacist and/or your physician.
  • Follow the directions on the label when you give a medicine to your child–Always read the warnings on the label and the “Contraindications” that accompany a prescription drug to learn any possible side-effects.
  • Make sure if you give your child a medicine at night that you turn on the light and are able to see the exact amount of the dose you are giving.
  • Never tell a child that medicine is candy in order to get them to take it! If they think it is candy, they will want more–and more could poison them!
  • Dispose of any unused or expired medicines. There may be a “Take Back” event in your area that allows the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for disposal, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. There also may be instructions on the medicine’s label which tell you whether you can or cannot flush the medicine.
  • Always keep the toll free emergency number of the Poison Control Center by your phone: 1-800-222-1222. If you think a child has been poisoned, remain calm and call 911 if the victim has collapsed or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Try to have the following information ready:
    • the victim’s age and weight
    • the container or bottle of the poison if available
    • the time of the poison exposure
    • the address where the poisoning occurred.

Guidecraft and CPSC Recall Children’s Dramatic Play 4-in-1 Puppet Theater

Posted by Marianne Frederick

This is one example of a great idea for a children’s toy gone bad for its lack of safety where young children are involved. The 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater was a great idea. Children love to express themselves during play with puppets. But here’s a theater that can tip over on the children who are playing or simply watching the fun. A little more care in the manufacture could have made play with this particular children’s toy item a great deal safer.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada and Guidecraft Inc. of Winthrop, Minnesota, announced March 13 that it is recalling 1,800 in the U.S., and 350 in Canada, Dramatic Play 4-in-1 Puppet Theaters, model number G51062, because the toy theaters pose tipping and entrapment hazards to young children. The CPSC has received several complaints, including two reports of the theater tipping over, one report involving injury to a young child.

This toy theater looks as though it is made of wood–or something that looks like wood–from the photos in the recall notice. The structure’s composition is not stated in the recall announcement. The puppet theater weighs about 46 pounds. If a 5 lb. bag of sugar falls on your foot, you would certainly feel it. Multiply that weight by 10, add to that the height from which the item is falling and the velocity of tipping, and imagine what the puppet theater’s tipping over could do to a young child!

A few adjustments in the manufacture of this toy puppet theater–which was made in China–might have made this a much safer play item. It is difficult to comprehend how this particular item was imported and sold to over 2,000 consumers for children’s use and play before it was noted that the puppet theater was “tippy”. Since this particular toy did not come assembled, the retailer would have assembled it one or more times for display or demonstration purposes. However, it was sold mostly through catalogs and by Guidecraft’s online and other online stores nationwide–so it might have been difficult for consumers to find that the theater was unstable until it was assembled.

These play theaters were sold from July 2010 through April 2011 for about $180. Guidecraft also currently advertises another floor-based toy puppet theater on their website, called the “Center Stage Puppet Theater,” which sells for about $135, appears to be similarly constructed, weighs 26 pounds, but apparently has not been recalled due to any complaints or problems. We advise caution in purchasing any floor-based or table top puppet theater for children’s use that might be questionable in the safety category, and we urge parents to see an assembled model in person if possible before purchasing.

To help consumers and parents identify the 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater, it has two interchangeable panels with different themes on each side, including puppet theater, diner, doctor’s office and post office. Model number G51062 can be found in the assembly instructions and also printed on a sticker affixed to the bottom of the center crossbar. The dimensions of the assembled puppet theater are 4 feet high by 3 feet wide. To view photos of the 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater, consumers may go to the CPSC website at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12131.html.

This 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater should be removed from children’s access and parents and consumers should contact Guidecraft for a refund or to receive a replacement product. Guidecraft’s toll free number is 1(888) 824-1308 and may be reached by calling anytime from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday. Consumers may also visit the company’s website at www.guidecraft.com.

One Study Says Carpooling Parents Ignore Booster Seat Recommendations

Posted by Marianne Frederick

Here are two good ideas parents like to put into practice: “Keeping children safe when they ride in the car by using the appropriate booster or safety car seats in the proper manner;” and “Car pooling in order to save gas, limit wear and tear on a vehicle, and rotate chauffeuring responsibilities of parents and caregivers.” Both of these sound like great ideas, don’t they? Is there any good reason these ideas should be mutually exclusive?

We don’t think so, but, according to a study performed by Michelle Macy, MD, of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and her colleagues, “Parents who generally have their children use booster seats in the car are not consistent in their use of booster seats when carpooling.”[1] Also, 79% of the group of carpooling parents in the study said they would always ask another driver to make sure to use a booster seat for their child and only 55% said they would have their child use a booster seat if their friends riding in the vehicle did not have booster seats. The data in the study were compiled from a survey of 681 parents of children, ranging in ages from 4 to 8. The article published in the February 2012 issue of Pediatrics, concluded that “social norms and self-efficacy for booster seat use may be influential in carpooling situations,”[2] which is a lofty way of saying that peer pressure is at work and it limits children’s safe-riding behavior even in carpooling situations.

This means to me that as child safety communicators, we need to do a better and more thorough job in publishing the message long and loud that using restraints appropriate for a child’s size every time they are in the car is very important for the safety of your child! The American Academy of Pediatrics believes health care providers have an important role in the process of communicating this message as parents view health care providers as a major resource for information on how to keep their children safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics revised their policy statement on booster seat use last year to reflect an emphasis on the size of a child, rather than a child’s age, by “recommending the use of a booster seat from the time children outgrow their forward-facing car seat until they reach 4 feet, 9 inches tall, around ages 8 to 12.”  [3] Safekids.org says “Use booster seats from 40 to 80 or 100 pounds.

The University of Michigan study reported that despite the type of restraint used for their children, most parents (64%) participated in carpooling and that booster seats were not uniformly used when the parents were driving other children.[4] The good news is that 76% of the parents used a safety seat for their child (although they had difficulty distinguishing between a safety car seat and a booster seat so for the purposes of this study, safety and booster seats were combined into “safety seats”). The remaining 24% of parents in the study said they used restraints (safety belts), but not booster seats, for their children. Finally, children were more likely to be using safety seats if the children were younger or lived in states where safety/booster seats were mandated by law. Our conclusion: Parents and caregivers need to know the differences between booster and safety seats and always make sure to use the size-appropriate seat in the proper way for children… every time they ride in your car! Every state has a child passenger safety law and parents and caregivers need to know the law in their state. To find the child passenger safety and safety belt use laws in your state, go to www.usa.safekids.org [5] and, please, drive and ride safely!

Secretary of Transportation Postpones Rule on Back-up Cameras for Autos and Trucks

Posted by Marianne Frederick

According to an article in the February 28 section, DriveOn in USA Today, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has postponed once more the publication of a rule which would require rear-view cameras in all model 2014 cars and trucks. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/02/report-backup-camera-to-be-required-on–2014-light-vehicles/1

Anticipating that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) can issue the final rule by December 31, 2012, Secretary LaHood informed members of the House and Senate oversight committees. DOT currently estimates that having rear-view cameras in vehicles could save approximately 300 lives annually.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that “292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries result each year from back-over incidents by cars and light trucks”. Of fatalities involving light vehicles, the NHTSA says 44% are children under five years of age.[1][1]  Child Safety advocate, Janette Fennell of KidsAndCars.org, commented that the news was devastating and totally unacceptable when it has been four years since the bill had been signed into law. http://ceoutlook.com/tag/rear-view-cameras/

The 2007 law requiring DOT to promulgate standards to improve the ability for drivers to view pedestrians behind vehicles was originally to have been published by February 28, 2011; however, LaHood cited the many difficult issues which surfaced during the public comment period for the proposed standards.  LaHood also noted that additional research and data analyses would be required to produce the most “protective and efficient” rule that would cover a broader spectrum of vehicles and drivers than originally addressed.

Indicating that the new projected deadline for this critical safety rule would be December 31, 2012, LaHood also noted that if a final rule were not published by December 2012, that it could affect whether cameras would be installed in all new 2014 vehicles.  Carmakers and regulators presently differ in their perception of how quickly a camera image “must appear after the driver shifts into reverse.” The difference of two seconds could mean the life of a child standing, walking or playing behind a large SUV.

Another point of contention between DOT and automobile manufacturers is the additional cost to carmakers which would be passed on to the consumer and could raise the sticker price $200 for some vehicles.  Some high-end automakers presently offer a rear-view camera as an option. There also are differences in the cameras, for instance, a driver may have to turn the radio on before the camera will work. Consumer Reports‘ Auto Testing Center’s David Champion says, “Back-up cameras are a great thing, because visibility is getting worse in today’s cars,” due to changes in car styles leaning toward aerodynamic rather than visibility improvements.


[1][1] “LaHood delays rule that may require backup cameras,” Woodyard, Chris et al., USA Today “Drive On”, February 28, 2012; http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/02/report-backup-camera-to-be-required-on–2014-light-vehicles/1

What Baby Eats–How Safe Is Establishing Preferences for Salt or Sweet?

by Marianne Frederick

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), points to the fact that eating patterns favoring salt may begin in children as early as infancy and that this may have a serious effect in later life.

According to the HHS HealthBeat of February 27, 2012, Leslie Stein of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, PA, examined the “taste preferences” of babies fed starchy table foods which frequently contain additional salt.[1] The infants who received the starchy foods appeared to like “saltier water” and the salt preference continued as the babies aged. http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USHHS-3059d4

Children introduced to starchy table foods by six months of age had a tendency to like the taste of salt when they were in preschool.” This is significant because “eating patterns which favor lots of salt are associated with high blood pressure and heart disease in adults.” So, parents and caregivers, we are again cautioned to watch our child’s intake of salt–even in infancy. So, if you haven’t been reading the labels, be sure to check the sodium content, especially of processed baby foods. And, if your children are being fed “starchy” table foods, ensure that they are also eating vegetables, fruit, and the right amount of dairy and protein too.

An article in MedPage Today, February 7, 2012, entitled, “Baby’s First Foods Should Be Finger Foods”[2] pointed to the fact that baby-led weaning has had a positive impact on a child’s liking for carbohydrates–foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition (those found at the bottom of the food pyramid). The author of the article, Nancy Walsh, noted that there has been a lot of interest and support “for baby-led weaning, which encourages a less controlling parental style and can help ease maternal worries about appropriate feeding.”

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Parenting/31059?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_ca

Baby-led weaning emphasizes infant self-feeding with solid finger foods from the outset, rather than parental spoon-feeding, but using the self-feeding method exclusively, worries me–parents need to make sure that not too much, nor too little, food finds its way into baby’s mouth. Meanwhile, if parents and caregivers are encouraging baby to feed himself, babies still need to be closely supervised while they eat. A very young child does not know how much they can safely put in their mouth and swallow.

Walsh notes that the study performed by research scientists, Ellen Townsend, PhD, and Nicola J. Pitchford, DPhil, of the University of Nottingham in England, concluded spoon-fed babies preferred sweets. One might say that in health-conscious America of the 21st Century, establishing this sort of pattern for a child will no longer do! This pattern of eating may contain another cause for childhood obesity–or adult Type II diabetes–by establishing a child’s preference for sweets in early life by spoon feeding. So, as parents and caregivers, we are cautioned on both accounts–the salt and sugar content of our babies’ foods. Perhaps, after all the science, it comes back to a wise grandmother’s good advice, “Moderation in everything is best!”

[1] “Kids on Salt”, HHS HealthBeat, February 27, 2012, http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USHHS-3059d4

[2] “Baby’s First Foods Should Be Finger Foods”, Walsh, Nancy, MedPage Today, February 07, 2012, http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Parenting/31059?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_ca