Posted On: October 25, 2010

Stroller recall due to strangulation risk: What parents need to know

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled two million older model Graco strollers after four children were strangulated and five others became entrapped in the strollers and sustained cuts and bruising.

According to the CPSC:

Entrapment and strangulation can occur, especially to infants younger than 12 months of age, when a child is not harnessed. An infant can pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, but his/her head and neck can become entrapped by the tray. Infants who become entrapped at the neck are at risk of strangulation.

Various product numbers from the following four Graco models were recalled: Quattro Stroller, Quattro Stroller Travel System, MetroLite Stroller and MetroLite Stroller Travel System. The strollers were sold at Babies R Us, Walmart, K-Mart, Target, Sears and several other large retailers between November 2000 and December 2007.

Parents who discover they own one of the recalled strollers should stop using them at once and contact Graco toll-free at 877-828-4046 for a free repair kit.

Newer models aren’t included in the recall because updated voluntary manufacturing standards went into effect in January 2008 that increased the space between the stroller tray and seat bottom, lessening the risk of harm. For example, the Graco MetroLite stroller now on the market carries a best buy rating from Consumer Reports because it passed the tougher safety standard, says Don Mays, senior director of product safety for Consumer Reports in Yonkers, N.Y.

“People who have these old strollers in their homes and pass them down from one child to the next, they’re the ones at risk,” Mays says, adding that the danger only exists if children aren’t buckled in every time they ride in the affected strollers.

Source: Marketwatch

For more recall details, including a complete list of affected model numbers, visit the CPSC page here.

To contact Graco online, go here.

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: October 22, 2010

Portable soccer goals pose serious child safety hazard

Soccer moms and dads need to know that the portable goals used on many of their kids' soccer fields pose a serious safety hazard when they're not secured to the ground.

As many as half a million portable goals weighing up to 400 pounds are on American soccer fields, and if they aren’t secured properly, they can tip over and cause severe injury or even death.

According to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 34 children have died since 1979 from injuries caused by soccer goals that tipped over. And each year, more than 200 players are injured.

Soccer goals are heaviest in the front and therefore can tip forward without warning when children climb or hang from the front bar (doing pull-ups or chin-ups, for example). Even a gust of wind can cause an unsecured goal to tip over.

If the goals are weighted down with stand bags or stakes, they won’t tip. Although referees are supposed to check each goal before every game to ensure they are being held down, parents should double check to ensure the goals are firmly in place.

Child safety experts also advise parents to talk with their soccer-playing children about the dangers of portable soccer goals. And, they say, the goals should be taken down when they aren’t in use to avoid accidents after the game is over.

Source: WRAL-TV Raleigh

Soccer parents can find a complete list of safety recommendations here.

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: October 21, 2010

Kids' Football Helmets: Unsafe, Untested

Hundreds of thousands of youngsters who participate in tackle football are wearing helmets that are too old to protect them from dangerous brain concussions. And even new helmets provide little protection from concussion.

These are just two of several eyebrow-raising findings in a report from the New York Times. Writer Alan Schwarz says:

Helmets both new and used are not — and have never been — formally tested against the forces believed to cause concussions. The industry, which receives no governmental or other independent oversight, requires helmets for players of all ages to withstand only the extremely high-level force that would otherwise fracture skulls.

The standard has not changed meaningfully since it was written in 1973, despite rising concussion rates in youth football and the growing awareness of how the injury can cause significant short- and long-term problems with memory, depression and other cognitive functions, especially in children.

Even worse, the industry's few safety standards are flouted by companies that recycle old helmets, returning them in dangerous condition, according to the Times:

Some of the businesses that recondition helmets ignored testing rules, performed the tests incorrectly or returned helmets that were still in poor condition. More than 100,000 children are wearing helmets too old to provide adequate protection — and perhaps half a million more are wearing potentially unsafe helmets that require critical examination, according to interviews with experts and industry data.

Read more here.

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: October 12, 2010

Florida child safety advocates ponder vehicle alarm law after death of infant in daycare van

Some child safety advocates in Florida are calling for special vehicle alarms following the death of a 2-year-old strapped and forgotten in her car seat for nearly 6 hours in the back of a Delray Beach daycare center van.

A few other states already have laws mandating that all vehicles from childcare providers that transport six or seven (depending on the state) or more passengers have a child safety alarm system that prompts the driver to inspect all seats before leaving. Mary Sachs, a state representative, said she will sponsor a bill next spring requiring the alarms in Florida.

The alarms work as follows: After the driver turns off the vehicle, an alarm goes off and continues to sound for one to four minutes, which forces the driver to walk to the back of the van to turn it off. If the driver ignores the alarm, an external car alarm sounds, thereby alerting others that the vehicle hasn’t been checked.

While no one keeps specific data on how many children die from being left in childcare center vehicles, dozens of children die after being left in cars every year. According to Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meterology at the University of San Francisco and author of “Hypothermia death of children in vehicles,” 49 children have died forgotten in cars so far this year.

The driver of the van was charged with negligent manslaughter and the owners of the day care lost their license after losing more than $200,000 in state funds following the incident.

Source: The Palm Beach Post

You'll find more information about deaths of children in vehicles from hypothermia here.

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: October 8, 2010

Regulators, science kit makers clash over possible ‘toxic’ paper clips

Science kits – and some of the items they contain, including paper clips used to show children how magnets work -- could require more stringent safety testing if the Consumer Product Safety Commission determines that the kits are “children’s products.” Science kit makers, meanwhile, argue that the items in the kits aren’t harmful to children and are everyday items found in homes and schools that don’t need to be tested when they are purchased separately.

The manufacturers asked for a testing exemption, but the CPSC would not grant a blanket waiver. In a 3-2 vote, CPSC approved a “guidance” that is supposed to help determine which products require testing under legislation passed by Congress two years ago that requires safety checks for items such as lead, chemicals and flammable materials.

After the vote, CPSC chairman Inez Tenenbaum said that “there is nothing in this rule that bans science kits.” The manufacturers, however, have threatened to cease supplying kits to elementary school children because of the testing requirement.

The approved document does not explicitly demand testing of the kits or their components. It does, however, indicate that how the kits are packaged and marketed (for example, whether they are intended for children 12 or under) could determine whether testing is required.

The science kit manufacturers say that a CPSC guidance subjects their products to a double standard – i.e. paper clips bought at an office supply store would not need to be tested, while those in the science kit would be. "They miraculously become a children's product when our clients pick those products up and put them in a science kit," a manufacturers’ representative said.

Two CPSC commissioners criticized the guidance. Anne Northup said the guidance should have carved out products that pose little or no risk. “We are not making reasonable decisions,” she said. Another commissioner, Nancy Nord, wrote on her blog that “it is crazy that the Hands-On Science Partnership needs to be concerned about doing lead tests on products purchased at an office supply store and then packaged into a science teaching kit for use with children. Even crazier is the fact that if a teacher buys the same paper clip at the same store and uses it for the same science teaching project, it's okay."

Consumer advocates, however, maintain the tests must be performed “to ensure that products for children are safe.”

Source: Associated Press

You can view the CPSC decision here on page 35.

Bookmark and Share