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Graco Recalls Two Million Strollers!

On October 20 in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall of 2 million Graco Quattro™ and MetroLite™ baby strollers by Graco Children’s Products, Inc., of Atlanta,Georgia, due to the possibility of entrapment and strangulation of children, especially infants under one year of age. Four infant deaths that occurred with the use of the strollers during the years 2003 to 2005, as well as five reports of infant entrapment resulting in scrapes and bruises, were cited as the primary reasons for this recall.

The CPSC recalled the Graco Quattro Tour™ and MetroLite™ strollers and travel systems manufactured prior to the existence of the January 2008 voluntary industry standard that dealt with the height of the opening between the stroller tray and the seat bottom. The January 2008 voluntary industry standard requires larger stroller openings to prevent hazards of infant entrapment and strangulation, should a child become entrapped at the neck. The recall involves Graco Quattro Tour ™ strollers and travel systems manufactured prior to 2006 and Graco MetroLite ™ strollers and travel systems manufactured prior to 2007.

The strollers and travel systems were manufactured in China and sold from November 2000 until December 2007 in the U.S. for prices ranging from $100 to $250 at a variety of stores, including Target, Walmart, BabiesRUs, Burlington Coat Factory, Sears, Navy Exchange, AAFES and others.

Consumers may learn the model numbers of recalled strollers by going to http://www.cpsc.gov  or http://www.gracobaby.com    Model numbers of strollers can be located on a label on a lower part of the rear frame above the stroller’s back wheels or beneath the stroller.  Strollers whose model numbers end in “3” are not affected by this recall.  Also, according to the CPSC, when the stroller is used with the infant car seat, the threat of entrapment or strangulation is not present. Repair kits may be obtained from the manufacturer. To obtain additional information about the recall, the consumer may call Graco at 1-800-345-4109.

The CPSC stated that consumers should immediately refrain from using the recalled products and stressed that it is illegal to attempt to re-sell or to re-sell recalled products.

Parents, family members, and caregivers are cautioned never to leave children unattended when they are in their strollers and always to secure them by using the stroller’s safety harness.

More Recalls and News for Child Safety Blog Fans!

34,000 Bathtub submarine toys were voluntarily recalled October 18, 2010, by CPSC.  Yes, the battery-operated Bathtub Subs™ were made in China and distributed by Munchkin, Inc. of North Hills, California.  The intake valve at the bottom of the toy can “suck up loose skin, posing a laceration hazard to children.” Sadly, before this toy was recalled, 19 incidents of lacerations are known to have occurred.  These toys were sold from November 2009 through September 2010 for approximately $7.  Mass merchandise stores nationwide sold the toy. If you have purchased this toy, you can simply remove and destroy it, or call Munchkin (at 877-342-3134) for information on how to return the toy and receive a replacement toy… Again, this is a real no-brainer, and I have to ask, how did it get on the market in the first place?

Infant Overalls Recalled

CPSC has recalled the following infant and children’s clothing imported from India to Lollytogs Ltd. of New York. They are the Lollytogs Carhartt® infant overalls style numbers GG8500 and GG8501 which the CPSC has determined represent a choking hazard to young children.  The overalls are made of cotton or cotton jersey, in red or brown, and have snaps that can come loose and could be a choking hazard to young children.  The overalls were made in infant sizes 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months.  Approximately 8,300 Lollytogs overalls were sold at retailers–again, nationwide–from February 2010 through July 2010 for approximately $25.00.

Consumers should immediately remove the overalls from children’s clothes closets and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund or store credit.  For additional information, consumers may contact Lollytogs at (800) 637-9035. ChildSafetyBlog.org hopes that if parents purchased them, they still have the receipt.

Valco Baby Recalls Jogging Strollers, Tri-Mode Single, and Tri-Mode Twin

Unique Baby Products USA, LLC of Brooklyn, NY, has voluntarily recalled approximately 12,000 of the Valco Baby Tri Mode Single and Twin Jogging strollers made in China, which represent a strangulation and/or entrapment hazard to a child when the child is not harnessed.  The grab bar on the strollers is the focus of the recall. It is an optional part and can be removed from the stroller. You may view affected model numbers of this children’s product on http://www.cpsc.gov

McNeil Cold Medicines for Children Scheduled to Return to the Marketplace

About two weeks ago, it was announced that a limited number of McNeil’s children’s cold medicines (Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol®, Infants’ and Children’s Motrin®, and Children’s Benadryl®) were scheduled to return to the marketplace after a voluntary recall and more than five-month absence.  On October 8th it was announced that McNeil had made label changes and adopted educational initiatives for parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, as well as science and surveillance commitments. ChildSafetyBlog.org will keep you posted as it learns whether McNeil’s meds are back on the shelves!

The Nap Nanny

Just when we think perhaps accidental death in children may be on the wane and products, such as drop-side cribs, which have been determined to be less than safe for infants and toddlers have been removed from the marketplace, another less-than-safe product pops up! Baby Matters’ (Berwyn, PA.) Nap Nanny, appeared on the oscilloscope of unsafe for baby in a big way earlier this week when 30,000 of them were voluntarily recalled from the child product marketplace.  The Nap Nanny is sort of like a “recliner” for baby and was developed to provide a hedge against “acid reflux” in children.

Consumers with questions should contact Baby Matters, LLC,  Box 811, Devon, PA 19333, 866-664-4008,  info@napnanny.com. Also you may contact the CPSC’s  toll-free Consumer Hotline at 800-638-2772  for product safety and to report unsafe children’s products.

One child’s death has occurred which has been determined to have been directly related to the use of the Nap Nanny.  We feel for the parents.  There but for the grace of God go we.

We do not understand how an idea for a child product could go so incredibly wrong–aren’t there engineers who– before patenting and manufacturing– determine the safety and efficacy of these products for a child’s use?  Don’t children’s products, furniture and toys have to go through a process of approval by some higher authority than a company president to meet standards of excellence?  Is it because babies can’t “talk back” or stand up for themselves that they and their parents become the perfect targets for child product manufacturers out for the almighty dollar?  The question is rhetorical, but it should give us all food for thought.

Certainly, moms and dads want to provide the best products for their children’s use that they can.  The child product marketplace–even in this economy– is gigantic.  Go to any Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and you see child products galore, from dolls to bicycles, to strollers and baby furniture, child medicines, infant seats, gates, swings and slings!  If you have any doubt that toy and child furniture manufacturers make money, look up the parent companies’ standings on the various stock exchanges.  Look at the retailers’ standings in today’s marketplace and examine the marketshare these retailers have.  So, it would seem to this blogger that as purchasers, buyers, parents, family members, caregivers and protectors of children… that we have the right to expect the safe and healthy use of child products by our children.  And nothing less.

You may wish to check the CPSC recall notice for the Nap Nanny in July Recalls at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10309.html

Have you traveled on an airplane with your child lately?

It’s the height of the vacation season.  If you haven’t traveled with your child on an airplane lately, there are definitely some safety tips and recommendations for flying with infants and young children you may want to review!

Naturally, traveling with infants and toddlers places a heightened burden of responsibility on parents, both in preparing for and taking the planned trip.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has recently updated recommendations of things you as a parent can do to make the trip safer, easier and less stressful. The TSA website http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm has several short videos for parents and caregivers of infants, toddlers and school-aged children to view to help simplify the process of proceeding through the checkpoint.

First and foremost, planning ahead for the trip never hurts. To ease stress when traveling with infants and toddlers and provide for a safer trip, TSA recommends learning before the trip what you can and cannot bring with you as both carry-on and checked baggage.  Check TSA’s website for prohibited items:  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm  Mothers, TSA makes special provisions for bringing breast milk and baby formula and other medically necessary items on board the airplane in larger than 3.4 ounce specified quantities provided they are declared at the checkpoint and presented to a Transportation Security Officer (TSO).

If your child is still a lap child, you may want to learn about in-flight child restraints before traveling. As we continue to hear in the news, seatbelts save lives, and the FAA strongly recommends child restraint systems (appropriate for children’s weight) be used for children under 40 pounds (18.1 kilos). There are other options:  buying a ticket for a seat for the child (if under 2 and over 40 pounds) and using the appropriate restraint system for that seat.  For safety, you will want to seat your child away from an aisle where little arms, hands and feet, could get pinched or bumped; ideally, the child could be seated between two responsible adults.

When going through the checkpoint, it’s a good idea to leave the items you will have to take out of your carry-on bag at the checkpoint on top in your carry-on things. Large items, such as diaper bags, blankets, toys, strollers, car and booster seats, baby carriers, infant seats, backpacks and baby slings, all must go through the metal detector at the checkpoint and can be checked in on the jet way before you get on the plane.  Frequently, TSA has an extra lane called the Family & Medical Liquid Lane for passengers who need assistance or who need a little more time may use. If you have questions, ask the TSO–or their supervisor if necessary.

Preparing for emergencies is always advised. Pay attention to the preflight emergency briefing. Ask if there are flotation devices on board for children. Make the counter agent, flight and gate attendant(s) aware if your child has any medical condition that could become an issue during the flight.  Bring along safe, softer toys if possible.

And enjoy your family airplane trip!

Keeping Food Safe in the Hot Weather!

In the warm — no, let’s just say it: HOT — weather we’ve already been experiencing this summer, it’s important we think again (or never stop thinking) about food safety for families with children.  It’s important that we think about food safety for our kids’ sake all the time. Whether we’re on a picnic, in the boat, at the pool, or while camping, we need to take all precautions to make sure we handle food in a safe manner, so that we and our children don’t become sick.  It’s so easy to slip up in this way–and the experience can wreck a family vacation.

Here are some handy tips to keep food safe in hot weather:

1) If you are traveling and taking food along, take 2 coolers, one for beverages (which may be opened and shut intermittently as people withdraw bottled water or canned or bottled drinks) and at least one more cooler for foods that must remain cold until the food it contains is prepared to be cooked or is eaten. Make sure cooler # 2 contains ample ice packs and ice along with the food.  A thin layer of aluminum foil on top of the frozen and/or cold food in the cooler placed beneath the cooler top is an added protection to keep food colder longer–or you can wrap each food separately, first in plastic or wax paper and then in aluminum foil.

2) If the ice melts in your food cooler or the cold food in it becomes warm for any reason or length of time, do not prepare or eat the food!  We realize food is expensive, but so are doctor bills. Throwing out food that has gone bad–although regrettable for the family’s budget–is much easier and safer than combating salmonella or E.coli or another stomach-unfriendly bacteria.  Also do NOT re-freeze meat, poultry or fish that has thawed.  Never leave thawed meat at room temperature for more than 15 minutes without cooking it–including hot dogs!

3) Bring wrapped, “dry” snacks along on a car trip.  These are not as perishable as some fruits and vegetables.  Puffed rice crackers, healthy veggie chips, apples, oranges, and “trail mix” (if you or your child are not allergic to nuts or seeds) are an alternative to some of the more perishable snacks. (Note: If you bring bananas along, make sure they are in a separate bag, don’t put them in the cooler… if you do, everything will smell like banana.  I learned the hard way.)

4) Make sure to wash your hands and your children’s hands, especially before eating or handling food. Washing hands often helps to retard the transmission of bacteria.

5) There may be chemical residue on food–so make sure to wash all raw meat, poultry, fruits, or vegetables separately and thoroughly before preparing and eating them!

6) There’s no other way to say this: “Cook food to the desired temperature and then some!” Invest in a food thermometer and use it!  At http://www.FoodSafety.gov, you can check the safe minimum temperature at which most meats, fish, poultry, and egg dishes are truly at the optimum temperature for consumption.

Meanwhile, food safety for us and our children is everyone’s business. The quickest way to get very sick is to eat bad food.  If you or your children are served food in a restaurant that is not thoroughly cooked, do not be embarrassed about sending it back to the kitchen and requesting an alternative meal.  Good restaurateurs know the dangers–and they don’t want their guests to become ill.

What We Feed Our Kids!

I hate to say this to parents, but, for the most part, WE are the “last location” before most food is consumed by our kids (especially when we are talking about babies and toddlers). We are the ones who make sure what they eat is safe and healthful. Either we have chosen their food in the food store, brought it home and prepared it for them ourselves, or our children have consumed it at someone else’s home in their kitchen or while sitting at a table in a fast food, or other restaurant, with us, a babysitter, or family member.

As our kids grow older, they will consume more food at school and outside the home. But, whatever the case, their eating patterns are established usually by us, and early in life. And while we may not have to worry about what they eat at every single meal, perhaps we should seriously consider what they are eating in total, and how it is building their bodies so they can experience a healthier and safer tomorrow.

One question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we buying nutritious foods for our children to eat or are we giving in to food choices that are not as healthy but are easy to fix and are pre-prepared (food that might contain more preservatives and fat), things that save us time?

Looking at the new food pyramid can give us some safe guidelines how to feed our little ones. Is the new food pyramid even in our vocabulary? If not, there are several places we can find it, such as the USDA’s website www.MyPyramid.gov

MyPyramid.gov has food safety and preparation advice for moms-to-be as well as moms of babies and toddlers. There is an interactive page for parents of preschoolers where you can fill in the age of your child and it will give you a sample recommended food pyramid listing the amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat and beans recommended, plus some safe snacking ideas and smart beverage choices for them. (You can print and paste it on the refrigerator as a reminder.) Clicking on “Inside the Pyramid” will tell you more about why certain food groups for your child are so important!

As parents, we worry about whether our children are getting what they need nutritionally to build strong, healthy bodies, in the way of vitamins and minerals–especially with processed food–or if there is any nutritional value in the food they eat at all! If you are considering vitamin supplements for your child, begin by checking with your family doctor first to make sure you are giving your child the right vitamin in the correct amount or dosage. Vince Iannelli, MD, of About.com’s Pediatrics says that it is “a much better practice to provide these nutrients to your child through the foods they eat” by choosing foods rich in:

    • fiber content
    • protein
    • iron
    • calcium
    • Vitamin C
    • potassium
Babies and toddlers require a variety of foods to achieve a balanced diet. It’s important to make sure that their diets are as balanced as older children’s diets. They may gravitate to certain foods they like, but a variety of foods breaks the monotony and encourages healthful eating in the long run.

Boating Safety with Children

That time of year is here.  It’s almost the 4th of July when families with children are considering how to spend a few days of much-anticipated vacation!  July 4th   not only represents the American Colonists’ gaining independence from British rule, it also signals to many people the beginning of summer. And July 4th  is often touted as the biggest family boating weekend of the entire summer season.  There will be colorful boat regattas, races, sailing classes, pleasure boating, fishing, and water sports of all kinds frequently taking place in and on the same body of water at the same time.  This means lots of boating traffic and boating safety rules and local laws will be enforced to keep everyone safe in and on the water.

Wherever you go boating with your children, whether it is on the ocean, in a lake, canal, river, or pond, boating with children means fun.  Let’s look at some important things for parents and guardians to consider and remember when taking children in a boat:

Make sure the boat you are getting in and placing your children in, is SAFE.  Never place your children in or on a boat you think (just from observing it) may not be safe, whether it is your neighbor’s speedboat, the tourist ferry boat or a simple canoe.

Never place or allow your children (under 12) to go out in a boat alone without an adult who can swim. 

Never place your children in a boat with an inexperienced captain, i.e., someone who has never run a speed boat or paddled a canoe.  Whether it’s a fishing boat, a sail boat, ski boat, or canoe, it takes a certain amount of knowledge and experience to run a particular boat.  Make sure the captain is knowledgeable, not a first-timer.

How can you, as a parent, tell that a boat may be safe and water-worthy? The boat should be in good physical condition–with no leaks and dry floorboards. It should be obvious that the boat has been well cared for. A boat should have a license in the state in which it is housed.  A boat’s registration should be up-to-date, with registration numbers and decal displayed on the outside hull or aft of the boat, and a current registration card must be carried by the person who owns and is running the boat at all times.  While a license doesn’t guarantee a boat is completely safe, boat owners who keep their boat registration current and carry their registration card are somewhat conscientious. 

Conscientious boat owners also may have their boats inspected (often free) annually by the local Coast Guard Auxiliary Chapter or the local law enforcement agency specializing in boat safety. You can ask the boat’s owner, “Has this boat been inspected recently?” Good captains will want you to know!

Every water-worthy craft (boat) should contain equipment that represents safe boating. If it’s a boat with gas-powered engine(s), such as a speed boat, fishing boat, deck, or pontoon boat, look for a fire extinguisher visible on board the boat and a certain number of flotation devices in the boat. At the minimum, a boat should carry an extra paddle, a rope, an anchor, and a map of the body of water, especially if it is many miles around or long.  If you are boating at night, the boat should have lights, red/green in the front and white in the aft and a horn to alert other boaters.

Every person in the boat, especially children, should wear a Coast Guard- approved flotation device, often called a life jacket or sometimes a “May West.” The Coast Guard approved-flotation device may be bright orange in color–or it might be brightly colored, fashion designer wear. Whatever the case, in 90% of boating accidents, a life jacket will keep your child’s head above the water in case of a boating emergency. 

Just having life jackets on board is not enough, make sure your child wears a life jacket and make sure its straps are securely fastened.  Don’t just put it around you or your child and say, “Oh, (I or) he can swim.”  Unfortunately, a person can’t swim if they’ve been knocked unconscious by a bad spill, crash, or explosion.

Make sure your children stay seated when the boat is in operation.  It’s not a good idea to be walking around causing a shift in the boat’s weight distribution while it’s in operation. Also, a boat in motion is just that–walking can be a tremulous thing on a boat–your child can fall. Pay attention to your captain, if he/she tells you to move or change seats or sides, do it!

Make sure the boat isn’t overloaded with people. If it is, don’t get in it! What’s the boat’s capacity–Ask–Don’t be shy!

All of the tips we have previously mentioned about safety in the heat, safety around water–all of those cautions apply when you take children in a boat out on the water–make sure to stay hydrated in the heat, absolutely use sunscreen and cover-ups.  Tee-shirts or beach towels help to cover exposed skin.  It’s easy to get sunburned and/or wind-burned while out on the water!

One final caution for boating safety with children applies more to parents and guardians and is a watchword of extreme caution to be taken to heart:

Boats, water, and alcoholic beverages do NOT mix.

If the person running the watercraft you plan to ride in–whether it’s a family member, a neighbor or an old friend– is or has been drinking, please don’t get on the  boat–and don’t place your children on that boat.  If there would be an emergency or an accident–someone whose reaction time has been impaired by consumption of alcohol may not be able to save you or your children or even themselves. If they are or have been drinking–any amount–they are liable to cause a boating accident and even if there is no accident or emergency, you can be sure they are operating the boat in contravention of the local laws, placing you and your children in jeopardy.

The goal of boating safely with children is to ENJOY boating and your children. Safe boating makes for good memories and fun that will be repeated now and in years to come. So, come aboard for a safe summer!

Are your children safe in the case of a natural disaster?

We have recently witnessed a terrible scenario in Haiti, when disaster in the form of a massive earthquake struck. Many children, as well as adults, instantaneously became injured and/or homeless. Children lost parents, parents lost children of every age.

This was certainly a frightening time for many Haitian families, and a time when many Americans felt helpless just watching the crisis unfold on television. The level of volunteer participation and donations to charitable organizations focused on relief to Haiti during the aftermath of the disaster was amazing! Yet how well we know, there aren’t enough volunteers, charitable organizations, or governmental/non-governmental organizations focused on Haiti presently to completely resolve Haiti’s mounting child safety issues–and it comes down to the fact that donations alone don’t keep kids safe in times of disaster–honest, conscientious and caring people do.

We hope we never need to use certain of these recommendations, but they are good to bear in mind to make sure there’s a fallback position, in case parents are unavailable during a crisis for whatever reason.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children advocates that we each do the following for our children’s sake vis-à-vis natural disasters. In recent weeks, several different states have experienced tornados and flooding.

Simple rules come in handy in a time of chaos and crisis as families can be separated in moments, especially when evacuation is required. Here are NCMEC’s important tips for parents, family members, babysitters, and childcare providers:

  • Know where your kids are at all times.
  • Stay together, if at all possible.
  • Take photos of your children, have them with you when evacuated.
  • Give children identification information to carry with them, including the child’s name, date of birth, address, phone numbers, etc. If a child is too young or otherwise unable to speak for him- or herself, consider writing his/her name, date of birth, parents’ names, home address, and telephone/cell numbers somewhere on the child’s body in indelible marker.
  • E-mail current digital photos of all family members to extended relatives and/or friends.
  • Photocopy important documents and mail to a friend/relative to be kept in a safe location.
  • Make a plan with your children, so they know what to do if your family becomes separated during an evacuation.

Today is the First Day of Summer: How Safe is Your Child Near the Water?

A shocking number of children drown each year–approximately 11,000 children in the U.S. die due to drowning. At least 1,000 of those deaths occur to little ones between infancy and 5.

Water safety practitioners encourage parents to:

  • Supervise children at all times when they are in, around, or even near water.

This doesn’t just mean when they are in a boat, by the lake, at the fish pond, by a brook or creek, at the beach or at poolside, it means any time. Any time there is standing water in a bathtub, in a wading pool, in a bucket or a 1″ deep puddle, there is the danger of drowning. Little ones especially are attracted to water and are not able to judge its depth, nor do they always have the physical ability to extricate themselves, once in it.

  • Swimming lessons are a great start to a safe summer, but simply knowing how to swim doesn’t mean your child can’t get into difficulty. Provide and make sure your children wear flotation devices if they need them and you go in deep water (whether at the pool, river, lake or beach) with your kids.

In my youth, we spent time at a lake in the summer. I got in trouble more than once–thankfully, I survived. Once, however, I dove into the water from an unsteady canoe, came up and hit my head on the bottom of the canoe. Yes, I could swim, but because I was almost knocked out, I drank a lot of the lake! If my older sibling hadn’t been along for the trip, I could have been a drowning statistic, which brings up another tip:

  • Never allow your child to go to or in the water alone. Go with them or make sure a caregiver, an able swimmer, or an older buddy goes with them.
  • If you take your child to the pool or the lake to swim, it’s time for you to learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

Administering CPR to an infant or a child is different than administering CPR to an adult, so it’s important to know the difference. You can check with your local rescue squad, fire department or your local chapter of the American Red Cross to learn if they are offering a CPR course near you this summer. The courses are not expensive; some are free providing they have attendees.

  • If you are hiring caregivers and babysitters, ask those you interview if they know CPR (and are certified to perform it) before you hire them.

If supervision of children were more thorough and parents, family members, caregivers and babysitters knew how to administer CPR, there would be more hopeful statistics to post here. There is nothing worse than watching a capable EMT administer CPR to a child who has fallen in the water and cannot respond.

All of us at ChildSafetyBlog.org are wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer!

Cyber Safety 101

Parents say, “I want to keep my kids safe on the Internet. I’m not that savvy about it–where do I begin? I don’t want my child to become a victim.”

It seems that younger and younger children are using computers these days. My seven-year-old niece knows how to clean up my PC, and I worry that once she becomes even more savvy, she, too, could be a target for cyber bullying and other cyber crimes. So with this in mind, I looked around the Internet to see where smart parents, family members, and caregivers are going for advice, and what I have found are some regularly updated links which provide solid safety information for parents of young children who are becoming computer-savvy.

You may want to check these websites for cyber safety resources as well:

www.ikeepsafe.org A website that provides resources to help elementary-school aged children learn about safety on the Internet.

http://www.staysafeonline.org The website of the National Cyber Security Alliance has tremendous resources and tips for families on how to stay safe online.

http://www.internetsafety101.org/internetsafety101.htm Enough Is Enough (EIE)

EIE was organized in 1998 to help parents learn how to keep kids safe on the Internet. Their course, Internet Safety101, was designed to help parents learn how to keep kids safe on the Internet.

www.Isafe.org ISafeAmerica (isafe Inc.) is a leader in e- safety. The i-SAFE Inc. Community Outreach initiative extends Internet safety awareness beyond the classroom by bringing students, parents, school and community leaders, and others together to spread this knowledge throughout the entire community.

Hoping your summer is a cyber safe one!