Category Archives: News in Child Safety

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month!

March is Brain injury awareness month and in recognition of this the Child Safety Blog is featuring a series of articles on concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in children.  We also did a public service announcement with Donna Broshek, who is the Associate Director of the University of Virginia Health System’s Brain Injury and Sports Concussion Institute. You can see the PSA here.

Your role as a parent is to both protect and encourage your child in the world. It’s a tough balance–you want your child to play sports and other recreational activities and you want them to be safe. By learning about concussions, the symptoms and how to prevent concussions, parents can help keep their kids safe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year over 207,000 children are treated in emergency departments for sports-related concussions and other TBIs. The highest occurrence is for youth between the ages of 5-18.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Excessive shaking can cause a concussion. Even a seemingly mild bump or blow to the head can be cause for concern and require medical attention.

A concussion may last for a short time or it can produce symptoms that last for days or weeks. While symptoms may appear mild, in some cases the injury can result in significant, lasting impairments.

While these should not be considered the absolute indicators of a concussion, they are signs that your child should seek medical attention:

  • Headache or neck pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ringing in ears
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Temporary loss of consciousness or forgetting the incident

For more complete details on symptoms and what you should do, see this info sheet from The Mayo Clinic. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/concussion/DS00320/METHOD=print)

What To Do If You Think Your Child Has a Concussion

The first thing to do is call your child’s physician. He or she will give you advice on whether to seek immediate medical treatment or to wait and observe your child for a day or two. Some symptoms may not appear immediately so you need to pay careful attention for a number of days after the injury.

Take notes–it’s always helpful for doctors if you can provide a history of an accident. Was he hit in the head? Did she lose consciousness? For how long? Write down symptoms and any comments your child makes that may indicate signs of brain injury. For example, is your child confused about the day or time, or complaining of head pain or dizziness? The more information you can share with the doctor the better.

Try to keep your child calm during this initial period. Discourage too much physical movement and other strenuous or stressful events. Remember it’s always better to call the doctor if you’re concerned.

Some Statistics on Concussions

Children from birth to 9 years of age are most often injured during playground activities or while riding a bike.

  • The highest occurrences are in football and girl’s soccer.
  • Males represent 71.0% of all sports and recreation-related TBI visits to the emergency room.
  • Children aged 10-19 years account for 70.5% of sports and recreation-related TBI visits to the emergency room.
  • For males aged 10-19 years, sports and recreation-related TBIs occurred most often while playing football or bicycling.
  • Females aged 10-19 years sustained sports and recreation-related TBIs most often while playing soccer or basketball or bicycling.

  (http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/facts.html)

If your child falls off his bike, bumps her head or is injured in a soccer game, he or she could suffer a concussion. Concussions can be serious if left untreated. Seek medical attention and keep a close eye on your child for the next few days–the doctor will give you suggestions on what to look for and what to do in the following days and weeks.

It’s important that you share information about the injury with teachers and coaches, if your child is in athletics, and ask them to help you watch for any potential signs of brain trauma.

And, as Donna Broshek advises in our PSA – when in doubt, sit them out.

In our next article we’ll talk about what parents can do to help prevent concussions.

Helpful Resources for Parents:

Concussions- The Kids Health Blog (http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/aches/concussion.html# )  – Easy to read article describing concussions and the symptoms.

Concussion and Mild TBI (http://www.cdc.gov/Concussion/) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a wealth of resources on concussions.

Moms Team-Concussion Signs and Symptoms  (http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/concussion-signs-and-symptoms-physical-cognitive-emotional-sleep-related) Online source for youth sports parents.

Accidents Due to Hazardous Children’s Furniture Should Not Happen!

On January 30, a recall was issued for 300 Natart Chelsea Three-Drawer Children’s Dressers Model 3033, by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in cooperation with the manufacturer, Gemme Juvenile, Inc., of Princeville, Quebec, Canada. The recall affects only 300 children’s dressers and is due to a safety hazard. The hazard: The dresser can tip over and entrap a child.

In fact, one such dresser did tip over, entrap and suffocate a two-year old toddler from Barrington, Illinois. The child attempted to climb onto an open lower drawer in order to reach the second dresser drawer, which caused the dresser to tip over on the child. The recall notice says, “When the dresser drawers are pulled all the way out and then the additional weight of a young child is applied, the dresser’s center of gravity can be altered and result in instability of the product [the dresser] and consequently tip over.” http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Natart-Chelsea-Dressers-Recalled-By-Gemme-Juvenile-To-Reduce-Tip-Over-Hazard-Death-of-Toddler-Reported/.

There are so many questions–and while any conscientious manufacturer would suffer from such an experience, I ask once again, why don’t manufacturers know within a reasonable range what can happen before releasing their products to the children’s furniture marketplace? Are children’s furniture products no longer being tested for safety before being imported to the U.S.? This particular dresser, according to the CPSC notice of recall, was manufactured before the May 2009 voluntary industry standard was issued. So, one might ask why didn’t the manufacturer recall the dressers when the voluntary industry standard changed?

This is a terrible reminder to parents of young children: Accidents with young children can happen very fast and toddlers should never be left alone. Young children need supervision.

The recalled children’s dressers were sold at Furniture Kidz and juvenile specialty stores and on line by Baby.com from January 2005 to December 2010 for from $600 to $900. If you have one of these, immediately stop using the dresser and remove it from your children’s access. Retrofit kits with wall anchor straps to keep the dresser from tipping are now being offered by the manufacturer for free, and consumers can contact the company by calling toll-free 1-855-364-2619 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

The CPSC would like everyone to know: “Every two weeks a child dies when a piece of furniture or a television falls on them.” All TVs and furniture should be anchored to prevent tipping.

Four More Infant Deaths Due to Nap Nanny Infant Recliners

Those who follow ChildSafetyBlog.org may be as sad and disappointed as we were when they learn that there have been four more deaths of babies in Nap Nanny infant recliners. In July 2010 we published a post to alert parents and caregivers about this dangerous piece of child furniture, so hearing this news is difficult. Perhaps if there were more thorough scrutiny of these products before they arrived on the market shelves…perhaps if more people paid attention to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls…

There are a million questions one could ask–but their answers don’t change the results. Nothing will bring these children back to life. Their lives were cut short by the use of less-than-safe baby products. My question from July 30, 2010, still stands: Aren’t there engineers who look closely at children’s products to determine whether they are really safe before they arrive on the market shelves?

The company that produced and sold the Nap Nanny infant recliners is bankrupt. The federal government is suing. Unfortunately, this is too little, too late. A loud public outcry… now… may save more children from this dangerous piece of baby furniture… but parents, caregivers and the public still need to be cautioned:

  • If you think a piece of children’s furniture, product or toy might not be safe, it probably is not. Check http://www.CPSC.gov for recalls, safety standards for children’s furniture and products–including cribs and baby beds;
  • Please pay attention to children’s product, toy and furniture recalls online and in the news–and if you see a child’s toy, baby furniture, or children’s product at a yard sale, DO NOT BUY IT unless you check it first on the list of recalls on http://www.CPSC.gov, to learn if it has already been recalled;
  • If you own recalled children’s furniture, toys or baby products, please don’t re-sell them. Selling or attempting to sell a recalled item is illegal. Much of the time, consumers can contact the manufacturing company for a refund or an exchange. If you cannot get a refund or a replacement item, then it’s best to destroy the recalled item, place it in a black plastic bag and deliver it to the dump, so it can never be used again or harm a child!

A Safety Update on Button Batteries and Magnets

by Marianne Frederick

ChildSafetyBlog.org is pleased that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has set standards for children’s products and toys that bear magnets, so you may not see the tiny batteries and magnets formerly used in many children’s toys. But, adult desk and “stress relief” toys containing those same small magnets and batteries have produced another challenge: Young kids are still getting hold of button batteries and magnets and swallowing them, sometimes with disastrous results.

Parents and caregivers, when you think about giving a gift this holiday season, if the gift requires batteries, take a look at the size of the batteries and/or magnets and if they are tiny and can be swallowed by a child in the gift recipient’s family, nix the gift. Consider giving another type of desk decoration.

You will also find the disc-shaped magnets and tiny batteries in singing greeting cards and jewelry, so please keep your eyes peeled and keep products with small or loose magnets away from young children who might swallow them. In addition, don’t buy magnets sold in sets of 100 or more, as it could be hard to tell if a few magnets disappear. Have a talk with bigger kids about the dangers of magnets and using them as fake piercings in their mouths or noses… big kids can get hurt by magnets too. If a relative or holiday visitor in your home wears or removes a hearing aid that uses the tiny batteries, ask them not to leave the batteries anywhere a child can get to them.

Be aware of the symptoms of magnet/battery ingestion:

  • Abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. Since these symptoms are common in kids and not always caused by ingesting magnets/batteries or other objects, you may not suspect what has transpired immediately.
  • Treatment should not be delayed–the possibility of severe injuries to the digestive tract, stomach, intestines–and even death–are possible.
  • Contact your pediatrician or take your child to the nearest emergency room immediately if you suspect your child has swallowed or been injured by a magnet or button battery. If there are any signs of choking or respiratory difficulty, CALL 911.

If a child in your home is injured from swallowing a small magnet or button battery, after you have attended to your child’s needs, please report the injury to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, by visitinghttp://www.saferproducts.gov on the Internet, or by calling 1-800-638-2772.

How to Create a Safe Sleep Environment for Infants

Posted by Marianne Frederick

Recently, the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHHD) issued a new informational brochure called “Safe Sleep for Your Baby.”[1] The single-page fact sheet provides details of what a safe sleep environment looks like and how to help parents and caregivers of infants reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

For an infant’s safe sleep, the NICHHD recommends the following to parents and caregivers:

  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress in a safety-approved crib covered with a fitted crib sheet. (Parents can explore what a safety-approved crib is by visiting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website http://www.cpsc.gov or calling the CPSC at 1/800-638-2772);
  • DO NOT USE pillows, blankets, sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in the baby’s sleep area;
  • Keep toys, soft objects, and loose bedding out of a baby’s sleep area;
  • Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head;
  • Always place your baby on his or her back for naps or to sleep at night;
  • Dress your baby in light-weight sleep garments;
  • If you give your baby a pacifier anytime–whether for naps or at night, make sure it is dry and not attached to a string; and
  • Don’t let your baby become too hot during sleep.

The fact sheet adds several additional cautions for parents and caregivers, and they are important to bear in mind: Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on chair alone. Your baby should not sleep with you or anyone else.

To help your baby breathe healthfully, please don’t smoke, and don’t let anyone else smoke, around your baby. Babies are sensitive to the stimuli around them and so are their respiratory systems. As parents and caregivers we need to do everything possible to keep babies as safe as possible and that means moms need to get regular health care during pregnancy, so that baby’s healthy development can be monitored even before birth. Once your baby is born, be sure to get baby regular health checkups and your health care provider’s advice about baby’s vaccinations.

Classic Wood High Chairs Recalled by Graco

Posted by Marianne Frederick

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Graco Children’s Products Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, have recalled approximately 86,000 Classic Wood High Chairs in the U.S. and 3,400 in Canada. The reason for this Graco recall is a fall hazard, as the high chair’s seat can loosen or become detached from the high chair’s base. Graco has received 58 reports of the high chair seats becoming loose and detaching from the base. Nine children have fallen when the seat detached, and one child in Canada experienced a concussion.

The chairs were manufactured in China, and imported to the U.S. by Graco. They were sold by Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, and other retail stores and online by Target.com and Walmart.com from September 2007 through December 2010 for approximately $130. The high chairs were available in three different wooden finishes, and have a top seat, bottom leg assembly and removable tray. The high chair came with a beige fabric seat cover.

Consumers should stop using the wooden high chairs immediately and contact Graco for a free repair kit. Graco can be reached at 1-800-345-4109, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or consumers can visit the company’s website at www.gracobaby.com. To see photos of these recalled high chairs, please visit the CPSC website, www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml13/13006.html.

Last weekend, while frequenting a yard sale, I was surprised to see three children’s products–all had been recalled–including a high chair, and two strollers for sale. The latter two had been recalled in January 2010. The people who were selling them were not aware of the recall and didn’t know that it is illegal to sell any product that has been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. So, to parents who are looking to purchase a stroller or other children’s product or furniture, please check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall notices on http://www.cpsc.gov or look on our website as Child Safety Blog also posts the CPSC recalls.

Child Passenger Safety Week – September 16-22, 2012

Posted by Marianne Frederick

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week, and we think this is a great opportunity to check to make sure your children’s booster seats are properly installed in the vehicle in which you transport your children and that you are using the correct vehicle restraints.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging parents to take advantage of the free booster seat checks which may be offered in your communities this week by organizations like the local Sheriff’s Department or the local SafeKids Coalition near you!

You can visit SaferCar.gov for guidelines and “how-to” videos on car seat belt use and installation.   If you have questions about car seats, you may want to participate in a Live Twitter Question and Answer session with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s safety experts, on Wednesday September 19 from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. (EDT).  You can follow and send questions to @NHTSAgov   Twitter.com/NHTSAgov  Hashtag: #therightseat.

Magnetic Toys Still Getting to Children – Parents Beware!

Posted by Marianne Frederick

Parents may remember that in 2009 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the sale of toys for children which contained powerful magnets. The CPSC had received many reports of children having swallowed the magnets which caused the death of at least one child and serious injuries to other young children. While the magnetic toys for children were banned, the manufacturers decided to market the toys differently by making them available as novelty adult desk toys.

The problem remains that young children are still getting hold of them and swallowing them causing some pretty serious stomach and intestinal injuries. Pediatricians have met with the CPSC on several occasions and have even recommended banning them from the marketplace period! Brands of adult magnetic desk toys that have soared in the marketplace are Buckyballs, Magnet Balls, Zen Magnets and NeoCube.

Despite the fact that the novelty magnetic toys are labeled for adults or children older than 14 years of age, they are continuing to reach the very young. Whether mislabeling–as in one K-Mart online listing incorrectly noted the magnetic toys for ages 12 and up–or lack of warnings about the hazards of ingesting the magnetic balls are responsible, pediatricians are concerned that online marketing of the adult magnetic desk toys has made them more popular and more prevalent in the home and, hence, more dangerous to young children who ingest them. According to an article in the September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports,[1] Buckyballs, alone, generate annual sales of $25 million, per CEO Craig Zucker.

The Consumer Reports article also notes that non-profit safety organization, Kids In Danger, indicated in a recent report that at least “38 cases involving BB-sized magnets had been reported since January 2010,” with the results that 17 children required surgery and 8 children required other medical treatment.

The CPSC is honing in on these magnetic novelty adult toys and if pediatricians all over the country get their way, there may be more than just warnings coming down the pike.  Dr. Mark Gilger, chief of pediatric gastroenterology, Texas Children’s Hospital, warns parents, “You shouldn’t have magnets in your home if you have children, and if you suspect a child has swallowed any, seek emergency medical care immediately!”[2] We concur with Dr. Gilger.

Child Safety and Detergent Gel Pods

Posted by Marianne Frederick

The Honorable Charles Schumer, a senior Senator from New York State, has voiced a growing concern to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about detergent gel pods and young children’s safety. Recently, children have been consuming the gel pods, which look a lot like candy, getting sick and have been hospitalized throughout the U.S.

The Senator has requested the CPSC put forward safety regulations to require safety caps on the pod packaging containers for both dish and clothes washing detergent gel pods. As the detergent gel pod use has increased in the U.S., so have occurrences of young children consuming the gel. The gel pods are small and brightly colored making them attractive to young children. Because their detergent chemical content is extremely concentrated, children who consume them are at risk of becoming ill.

Senator Schumer has been quoted as saying, “The common sense solution to this problem is for manufacturers to make the product less colorful, and for them to use child safe caps on the dispensers,” similar to those commonly used on prescription drug bottles. He also noted, “There is no reason in the world that those protections can’t be used on another product that can be equally dangerous.”http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=337572.

Blind Xpress Window Blinds Recalled Due to Child’s Death

Posted by Marianne Frederick

People will read about this kind of recall and say, “It should not happen!” We think, we hope, by now, that most people have heard repeated warnings about the dangers of window blind cords and strangulation. Parents, especially, have been warned by the news media, as well as by organizations focused on child safety, about placing a child’s crib near a window. So, why do accidents of this type keep happening and the statistics continue to increase?

We believe that it is not for lack of education or for the love of our children. The products are on the market, and people purchase them assuming that simply because they are being sold by reputable stores that they are safe! Parents and caregivers are busy, often caring for more than one child at home. There’s so much for parents to accomplish in the non-working hours. There’s a never-ending list of to-do’s with which most parents are all too familiar. It’s hard to stay focused. There are many distractions from meetings, to visitors, phone calls and text messages that demand a parent’s attention.

We’ve all heard of distracted driving… and even distracted walking… Perhaps what we’re doing is sometimes distracted living. Technology, as engaging as can be, often steals our focus from daily duties and priorities–and makes us forget what we need to be doing right now. I am as guilty as the next person–while working on my desktop PC, I forget to turn off eggs boiling on the stove–even though I’m in the same room. Exploding eggs and the smell of burned sulfur jar me back to the reality of the mess to clean up–and I think about what could have happened, even fire!

As parents, we are reminded continually to be focused, but beyond being and staying focused, we need to pay attention to recalls and warnings. Ignoring them won’t make them disappear. Not only are there many unsafe and untested children’s products on the market, but the normal things one finds in our homes on a daily basis can be deadly… like button batteries, medications, matches, space heaters, baby bathers and, certainly, window blinds. A woman at a class reunion recently announced, “We didn’t have all these cautions and we grew up!” Yes, many of us grew up, but some of us didn’t, like our classmate whose parents had a faulty swing set from which their daughter fell.

There are a number of websites listing recalls of unsafe products on the Internet. If parents don’t have a computer at home (or have access to a smart phone or iPad), they can check the http://www.cpsc.gov website for recalls from a computer at their local library. Check our website, http://www.childsafetyblog.org for recalls too! ChildSafetyBlog.org is devoted to keeping children safer and to helping parents and caregivers accomplish this most important goal. So, parents, stay focused, stay informed of recalls and keep children safe!