Category Archives: Parenting

Halloween Child Safety Tips

My seven year old is going as Gabriella from High School Musical, my five year old as a witch, my 17 month old as a fireman, and my 7 month old as a firehouse dog.  Here’s what we’re doing and telling them so that they’ll be as safe as possible.  If any one else has any good tips, let me know and I’ll include them next year.  By the way, Jane, Libby and I saw HSM3 over the weekend — all in all not bad.

Halloween Safety Tips –

  • Wear light colored or reflective clothing/costumes OR buy reflective tape (sold at any hardware or big box store) and place on costume.  3M makes good reflective tape.
  • Make sure your kids have flashlights.
  • Make sure costumes don’t drag on the ground – long costumes present an increased fire hazard.
  • Talk with your children about not getting too close to jack-o-lanterns with candles, or any other open flames.
  • Young children should have a parent with them when trick-or-treating.
  • It’s much more safe for children to travel in groups then by themselves or in pairs.
  • Take masks off between houses (better yet, don’t get a costume with a mask).
  • Don’t cut through yards — use driveways and walks.
  • The best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating are the ones with the fewest cars.  Take extra time to impress on your children the need to be on the lookout for cars – they will be excited and crossing the street often.  They absolutely need to stop and look before crossing, and young children need to wait for a parent before crossing.
  • Feed your kids dinner beforehand — lessens the candy intake (at least a little bit).
  • If your older kids are going out alone, it’s best for them to have a cellphone or some means of communicating with you.
  • Inspect your children’s candy for open packaging or anything else that might be suspicious.
  • AND, although not safety related, talk to your kids about being polite, saying thank you, and not grabbing handfuls of candy when offered.

BE SAFE AND HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dangerous Cribs Recalled

Given all that is known about crib safety, and how long the industry has known about potential hazards, it amazes me that we still have a problem with dangerous cribs.  Over the last month, there have been four crib recalls, all for entrapment and suffocation hazards.  As is too often the case, it took the death or serious injury of a child for these recalls to happen.  The recalled cribs are:

The Delta recall involves over 1,500,000 cribs.  The danger involves missing or failing safety pegs for the drop rails.  The CPSC is aware of two deaths and other instances of entrapment involving these cribs.

Whenever parents use previously owned/older cribs, they should make sure that they have all the hardware and that they are putting the crib together correctly.  For instance, for some older cribs, it is possible to switch the mattress platform with the crib rails.  If directions are not with the crib, parents should check the manufacturers website to see if they are posted there.  Most importantly, use common sense.  After the crib has been put together, look for any noticeable gaps.  Also make sure that the drop rail, if there is one, is well attached and slides smoothly.  Finally, make sure that there are no large gaps between the spindles where a baby’s head could become entrapped.  One useful test — if a soda can can fit through the spindles, they are too wide.

Recalls of Childrens’ Products – Child Safety Information

One of the important things I’d like to do with this site is provide a place where parents can get quick, easy access to recall information for children’s products.  Up-to-date recalls will be posted, and eventually we’ll have a sign-up for a monthly or weekly electronic newsletter that will, among other things, contain current recall information.

But what is a recall of a consumer product such as a toy or child safety seat?  A recall is a corrective action by a company with regard to a product that it has discovered may be unreasonably dangerous to users.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has jurisdiction over toys and child safety seats sold in the United States, as well as other consumer products such as household appliances, sporting equipment and furnaces.  It does not have jurisdiction over motor vehicles, drugs, pesticides or medical devices (other government agencies have jurisdiction over those).

The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) is the umbrella statute for the CPSC.  Section 2064(b) of the Act requires manufacterers, importers, distributors and Retailers to report to CPSC information about products that are potentially hazardous.

A firm or company must notify the CPSC if it discovers information that suggests one of it’s products:

1)     contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard;
2)     presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death;
3)     violates a mandatory CPSC standard.

If you would like to report a toy, car seat or other product that you believe is dangerous, go here.

If you would like more information on what has been recalled, go here or here.

As I stated above, we will soon have a regular email or electronic newsletter going out with current recall information.  If you would like to receive this information, please email me, Bryan Slaughter.

Starting the Conversation

So, since we’re just getting started here, I thought I’d talk a little more about where I’m going with this site.  Ideally, I’d like this to become a child safety community of sorts.  I envision a place where people can go to find out about child safety, but also engage in discussions and debates about child safety.  What have people come across that they think is particularly dangerous to their children?  What was unexpectedly dangerous?  What practical tips do people have to make their child more safe?

One thing I’m particularly interested in is the balance between keeping our kids safe and letting them test their limits.  We could all put our children in a bubble where they’d never get hurt, but they’d be missing out on so much that makes life fun.  Climbing trees, going too fast on a bike, pretending the top of a brick wall is a balance beam — all of these things are not only fun for kids, but it also builds their confidence. Most of it is common sense.  Let them ride their bike a little too fast, but make sure they have a helmet.  Let them walk on the wall, but walk underneath them to break their fall.  Make sure the tree they’re climbing is a good climbing tree with sturdy branches.  Kids are going to get injured — broken arms, cuts, chipped teeth — that’s all part of childhood and we as parents can’t and shouldn’t try to prevent all injuries. Our job is to do what we can to minimize the risk of the truly serious ones. — What We’re Up To…

Hello all:

Welcome to the Child Safety Blog!


— The mission of this site is to be a central location where parents can go to find information about child safety.  It is intended to be a starting point for parents interested in staying abreast of current child safety issues.  The CSB will have updated information regarding recalls, child safety news, best safety practices, state-of-the-art products, as well as opinions about everything related to child safety.  While the site will have tips about major topics such as toys, water safety, and safety in and around cars, it will also have links to the best websites for each of these topics.  So, by coming here first, a parent can be confident that this site will have already done the research to find the best, most recent child safety information.

WhoThis CSB was created and will be maintained by Bryan Slaughter, an attorney with MichieHamlett in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Bryan devotes his practice to helping people who have been seriously injured by corporations who have acted negligently or have produced dangerous products.  Over the years, more and more of Bryan clients have been children who have been needlessly injured.

Bryan and his wife Jennifer are parents to four wonderful kids (they’re the ones in the pictures above).  When he’s not working, he’s spending time with his family and occasionally playing

— I find it meaningful to be able to help children who have been hurt, but it would be far more fulfilling to have a hand in preventing injuries before they happen, and that’s why I started this blog. Through my work, I constantly see what is safe and what is not.  I see patterns of injuries to children — the same thing happening over and over.  Children, as well as parents, simply don’t appreciate many dangers until it is too late.  By raising awareness, I hope to help stop injuries before they ever occur.