Tag Archives: child safety

Child Safety in the Kitchen

It’s the holiday season, and families are coming together from near and far.  Almost without fail, we all tend to congregate in the kitchen.   Certainly people are attracted to the wonderful smells and holiday treats, but it’s more than that – the kitchen table instinctively seems to be a gathering place for friends and family.

It’s also a fun place for kids.  Sweets are often there for the taking, and it’s fun for children to help out with cooking and baking projects.  Cooking with Jane and Libby is one of my favorite activities to do together, and they are having fun learning a skill that they can enjoy for a lifetime (and they also get to taste the sugar).  In addition to making our time in the kitchen fun, there are a few simple precautions that can keep them safe, as well.  Go to the next page for a few tips on how to keep kids safe while they’re in the kitchen.

Child safety tips for the kitchen:

1)  Keep the handle of pots on stove turned inwards.  Scaldings from pots that are tipped over present the greatest danger of serious injuries in the kitchen.  65% of burn injuries to children under four who are hospitalized are the result of scalding.  Toddlers and young children are naturally curious, and are unable to look out for their own safety.  These accidents can happen in seconds, so make sure to develop the habit of turning pot handles inwards.

2)  Purchase a stove guard to prevent young hands from reaching up towards the stove.

3)  If children are standing on a chair or stool to help with a project, make sure they are far enough away from the stove so that they can’t tip and fall onto it.

4)   If children are old enough to be working at the stove, make sure they do not wear clothing that is too loose fitting — be especially careful of sleeves that hang down.

5)  Keep knives stored safely out of reach of young children.  When children do become old enough to responsibly use knives, teach them safe handling techniques.  If you need a refresher course on how to safely handle and use kitchen knives, click here.

6)  Practice and teach safe food handling techniques.  Use different cutting boards (or separate sides of the same board) for meats and produce.  After handling poultry, thoroughly wash your hands, any utensils that touched the meat, and all cutting boards.

7)  Finally, pick projects that are age appropriate.  This tip is more for fun than for safety.  Baking is probably more fun for young kids than cooking.  The projects are fairly quick, and children can participate in simple ways, such as helping add ingredients that have already been measured.  Kids also have fun tasting the finished product.

Here’s a good link for childproofing a kitchen.

Have fun — if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, add them below, or email me, Bryan Slaughter, at bryan@childsafetyblog.org,  Thanks, and have a happy and safe holiday season.

Toy Safety Organization Releases Its Annual Top 10 Worst Toys

Just in time for Christmas, an organization called W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) has released its annual list of the top 10 worst toys.  What amazes me is that all of the hazards here have long been established — choking hazards, projectiles that can damage eyes, etc – yet these dangerous toys still reach the market.  There is no approval or evaluation process by any government agency for toys – the CPSC only steps in when a problem is identified.  Please go to the next page for the list.

Click here for a list of the worst toys of all time (complete with Lawn Darts).  These would be funny if not for the fact that each of these put thousands of kids needlessly at risk.
Animal Alley Purse Pet
Ninja Battle Gear – Michelangelo
Walk’n Sounds Digger The Dog
Pucci Puppies – My Own Puppy House Golden Retriever
Meadow Mystery Play-A-Sound Book With A Cuddly Pooh
Inflatable Giga Ball
Spider-Man Adjustable Toy Skates
Sportsman Shotgun
Extreme Spiral Copters
Go Go Minis Pullback Vehicle

Parents — Check Your Window Blinds – Recalls of Blinds Made by Ikea and Green Mountain Vista

Some hazards are obviously dangerous to kids – the Drano under the sink, a pot of boiling water on the stove, or a car backing out of the driveway.  Those are things we as parents intuitively know can be dangerous to our kids, so we take precautions such as cabinet locks and stove guards to protect them. 

Not all hazards are so obvious, but they can be just as dangerous.  Window blinds are a great example.  They seem innocent enough, and it certainly doesn’t seem like a child could hurt himself (or herself) if left alone with one.  Yet, the cords on certain window blinds can present a serious strangulation hazard to young children.  Over the years, hundreds of boys and girls have been seriously injured and even killed by becoming entangled and then strangled by window blind cords.

On Thursday, the CPSC issued two recall alerts.  Popular furniture maker IKEA is recalling its IRIS and ALVINE Roman Blinds, and Green Mountain Vista Inc of Williston, Vt. is recalling its Insulated Black-Out Roller Shades and Insulated Roman Shades. This past April, a one year old girl in Greenwich, Ct.tragically died as a result of strangulation by the cord of an IKEA blind.  She was found in her playpen with the cord from a nearby fully lowered blind wrapped twice around her neck.  This past June, a two year old girl from Bristol, Ct, was nearly strangled by a Green Mountain Vista blind when she placed a cord loop around her neck and then fell.  Luckily, she was saved by her brother.

The IKEA shades were sold at its stores nationwide for between $7 and $30 from July 2005 through June 2008.  The Green Mountain Vista shades were sold nationwide for between $60 and $200 at the following stores: Target.com, Plow & Hearth, Country
Curtain Shop of Maine,
Sturbridge, Yankee
Workshop, Ann & Hope,
The Linen Source, Solutions Catalog, and The Sportsman’s Guide.

IKEA’s recall states that users should return the blinds to one of its stores for a full refund.  Green Mountain says that users should check their blinds to see if the tensioning device is still attached.  If it’s not, they should contact Green Mountain Vista at (800) 639- 1728 or go to its website.

For window blind safety, I found a great site — the Window Covering Safety Council.  I highly recommend checking out this site and then checking your window coverings.  Here are basic safety tips from their website:

Install only cordless window coverings in young children’s bedrooms and sleeping areas. Replace window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with today’s safer products

Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall

Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short and continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall. Make sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement of inner lift cords

Lock cords into position whenever horizontal blinds or shades are lowered, including when they come to rest on a windowsill.

If you have any questions or need more information, please email Bryan Slaughter.

Are Cold Medicines for Kids Safe?

Recently, there has been controversy over the safety and efficacy of many cough and cold medicines for young children.   Last year, the FDA.issued a public health advisory warning against the use of such medicines for children under two.  In October, manufacturers voluntarily changed the labeling and warnings to state that these medicines should not be given to children under four.

The problem is that studies have shown that cough and cold medicines are not effective for young children, and there are approximately 7,000 pediatric emergency room visits per year as a result of adverse reactions.  Most of these visits are the result of unintentional overdosing — parents guess at the dose, or they don’t realize when two medicines contain the same active ingredient.  Studies are currently being done regarding whether these medicines are effective for children under 12, but they won’t be completed for a couple of years.

So, where does that leave us parents?  First, don’t panic, and don’t necessarily clean out your medicine cabinets.  Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Do not give adult medicines to children, no matter how much you cut the dose.
  • Strictly follow dosing instructions.
  • Talk to your pediatrician about which medicines to use and in what amounts.
  • Check the “Drug Facts” section of the label to see what the active ingredients are.  For instance, most of the cough and cold medicines contain some type of pain reliever such as acetomitophine (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil), in addition to other ingredients for cough or a stuffy nose.
  • Be very careful when giving more than one medicine at a time — this is where accidental overdoses often occur.  Using the example above, a problem could arise if a parent gives their child Advil and then a multi- symptom medicine containing Advil.
  • Realize that these medicines do nothing to cure or shorten colds and the flu.  They only work on the symptoms.  Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids and rest.

Check back here — the CSB will be monitoring the current studies and announcements regarding cough and cold medicines

So what are the parents out there doing — using these medicines or not?

CPSC and Crib Safety

The CPSC has recalled over 13 cribs and bassinets since the first of the year.  Many feel that the CPSC is not aggressive enough in its recall measures, and that it is not sufficient to permit manufacturers to simply issue retrofit kits to satisfy the recalls.  The Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, has taken matters into her own hands, and should be commended for her actions.

Here’s what’s happened.  A company called Simplicity has had a lot of problems with recalls over the last year, some as a result of infant deaths.  Due to the recalls, Simplicity was forced into bankruptcy.  A company called SFCA, Inc, purchased the assets of Simplicity. That’s fine, except it appears that the only thing SFCA wanted to do was reap profits, and did not seem particularly interested in helping to save the lives of children.  SFCA would not cooperate whatsoever with the CPSC recalls.  Given that children’s lives are at stake, Madigan did not feel that the CPSC’s response to SFCA was sufficient, so she undertook her own action to force SFCA to stop marketing these dangerous cribs.  She’s to be applauded.

AG Madigan has also put out a very useful guide for identifying which cribs have recently been recalled, as well as safe sleeping tips for infants.

Email Bryan Slaughter

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.