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Latest Product and Safety News
Safe Kids Worldwide is committed to bringing you the latest in product and safety news. Information on consumer concerns important to child safety will be provided bimonthly. Be sure to sign up for our Product Recall Newsletter to get this information delivered to your inbox!
Safe Kids Offers Testimony as Congress Highlights Counterfeit Children’s Products Online
On March 4, the House Consumer Protection & Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “Buyer Beware: Fake and Unsafe Products on Online Marketplaces,” focusing on the distribution of counterfeits through online third-party marketplaces. Safe Kids offered testimony about issues including dangerous counterfeit car seats, rare-earth magnet sets, and inclined sleepers. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), who had a recent fall from his bike, demonstrated the dangers of counterfeit products by jumping on a fake bike helmet that broke into pieces. With a fake bike helmet, he said he “probably would have been dead” in his crash. The hearing also touched upon issues related to the safety of products in a child’s environment like fake car seats, infant sleepers, and toys. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) brought in a set of real and fake magnets to show how difficult it is to differentiate them. He also broke the magnets apart to show how easy it is for children to ingest the dangerous toys.
Safe Kids Releases 9th Annual Medicine Safety Report
Safe Kids recently released “Keeping Kids Safe Around Medications: Insights and Implications,” the 9th in our series of medication safety research reports produced with support from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. As the title suggests, this year’s report focuses on trends identified and insights gained through our medication safety work since 2012. The report found that estimated numbers of ER visits for suspected accidental unsupervised ingestions of medicine by children under 6 fell by 33 percent, and that single-substance medicine exposures reported by poison control centers fell by 18 percent in the period studied. Other findings include that unintentional medication ingestions continue to be largely driven by unsafe storage, although increasing quantities of medicines in the average home may be increasing exposure risk for children. Further, some parents continue to believe supervision is sufficient to prevent children getting into medicine, either because they underestimate their child’s motor skills or overestimate their safe decision-making skills. One innovative medicine safety law passed in California in 2018 requires pharmacies selling certain controlled substances to also display safe storage devices for sale nearby.
Study: Removing Child-Resistant Safety Packaging Leads to More than Half of Child Poisonings
A study found that 50,000 annual emergency room visits by kids who were poisoned by medicine resulted from caregivers taking their meds out of tough-to-open containers and putting them in easy-to-reach places for convenience. The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University School of Medicine and the Georgia Poison Center. Many of the medications involved, which include those used to treat diabetes or cardiac conditions, are hazardous to children even in small doses. In 2010, there were 540,000 calls to U.S. poison control centers associated with children swallowing medication, as well as 75,000 emergency visits. This data suggests that there is a continuing need to educate parents to keep medicine in child-resistant containers up, away and out of the reach of children.
Senators Call on NHTSA to Finalize Side-Impact Crash Test Standards for Car Seats
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) issued a statement calling on NHTSA to finalize side-impact crash test standards for children’s car seats. This standard has been under development for some time, but the lack of an enacted side-impact testing mandate has left car seat manufacturers to decide on their own standards in the interim. The Senators’ statement came in the wake of a report which called into question the effectiveness of manufacturers’ side-impact testing standards. The report included crash-test images appearing to show Evenflo booster seats marketed as “Side Impact Tested” allowing test dummies to move in ways that could cause serious injuries in a real crash.
CPSC Warns Consumers Not to Charge or Use New High-Tech X1-5 Hoverboards Due to Fire Hazard
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning the public that the New High-Tech X1-5 Hoverboard’s lithium ion batteries can overheat, which poses a fire hazard that can lead to smoke inhalation or other serious injuries, including death. CPSC has asked the company to recall the product, but the company has refused to do so; therefore CPSC is warning consumers not to charge or use the model. Hoverboards should be compliant with the “UL2272” safety standard, and CPSC urges consumers to look for the “UL” mark on hoverboards before buying one.
Over 165,000 Inclined Sleepers Recalled By Four Manufacturers, CPSC
Multiple models of inclined sleep products for young children, representing four different manufacturers, were recalled this week “to prevent a suffocation hazard”. One of the recalled sleepers, the SwaddleMe By Your Bed Inclined Sleeper, was previously subject of a CPSC warning to the public not to use it, citing infant suffocation risks. Inclined sleep products have been under scrutiny by product safety advocates, regulators and legislators since reports of infant deaths linked to their use began to surface last year, leading to the recall of the popular Fisher-Price Rock N’ Play in April 2019. Efforts are currently underway to ban inclined sleepers as a category, both in Congress and through a rulemaking process at the CPSC.
Blog Recaps Challenging Holiday Season for Consumer Product Safety
A new blog by Safe Kids Chief Advocacy Officer Tony Green discusses a number of developments in consumer product safety that came about or resurfaced over the recent holiday season. Among the issues covered is the continuing proliferation of counterfeit goods in online marketplaces, especially children’s products and toys. A CNN investigation found fake Doona car seats which smashed apart in a crash test simulation, while the Toy Association warned consumers to be on the lookout for counterfeit toys and provided tips for detecting a fake. Another recurring product safety hazard, rare earth magnets, also made headlines over the holidays. A piece by the Washington Post reported that ingestions of the magnets have spiked six-fold since their reintroduction to the market. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has since introduced legislation known as the Magnet Injury Prevention Act (S.3143), which would ban the magnets once more.
Ikea Reaches $46 Million Settlement with Family of Toddler Crushed by Dresser
Ikea has agreed to a $46 million settlement with the family of 2-year-old Jozef Dudek, a California toddler who was crushed to death by one of the company’s popular MALM dressers. The Dudeks’ suit claimed that Ikea continued selling the dressers even though they knew of the tip-over danger. Jozef was found by his father in his bedroom pinned beneath the drawers on May 24, 2017. The Dudek family only learned after their child’s fatality that the 70-pound dresser was unstable and failed to meet safety standards. Prior to Jozef’s death, at least 5 other children were killed and 91 injured in MALM tip-overs.
Charcoal Grill Blamed for Jacksonville Carbon Monoxide Poisoning that Sends 8 to Hospital
Five children and three adults were treated for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning at local hospitals after firefighters were called to an apartment in Jacksonville, Florida, in response to a report of a sick person. Evacuating the complex and setting up fans to clear the air, first responders found “extremely high” levels of CO and several sick, listless children. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide include dizziness, weakness, upset stomach and vomiting, and are often confused for the flu during winter months. Installing CO detectors on each level of a residence and testing them regularly can provide a life-saving warning in the event of CO exposure. Parents and caregivers can learn more about carbon monoxide with our CO Safety Tips.
New Bill Would Allow Prompt Public Disclosure of Product Safety Risks
U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced a bill in Congress which would allow the CPSC to publicly share critical information about unsafe products without risking a lawsuit by the product’s manufacturer. The bill, called the Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency (SHARE) Information Act, would also increase the fines on companies that violate product safety laws. Currently, Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act allows companies to limit information shared by the CSPC and what language they use. 6(b) was initially intended to give companies a chance to review and respond to safety issues before making them public. However, criticism of 6(b) has mounted recently, especially in the aftermath of revelations about the dangers of inclined sleepers. In that case, the public only learned that the CPSC knew of at least 70 infant deaths related to the sleepers because the relevant data was accidently disclosed by agency staff.