September went out with a bang at KID with lots of activity. Busy weeks like this remind us all how important KID’s work is to children’s product safety.
KID ED Nancy Cowles spent the first part of the week at ASTM International subcommittee meetings on juvenile products. From gates to cribs, crib mattresses to strollers, and more, changes were adopted or proposed to the voluntary standards that will make these products safer. These voluntary standards form the basis for the CPSC mandatory standards created under Danny’s Law. Imagine days spent discussing specifications for testing apparatus, warning wording and formatting, and possible new performance tests to address an emerging hazard. KID, along with Consumer Federation of America and Keeping Babies Safe, is often one of the only consumer representatives in a room full of industry engineers and consultants. When it works well, this process can effectively create strong standards that protect children. On some issues, however, like crib bumpers, they move at a glacial pace and keep unsafe products on store shelves. There is always more work to be done. And juvenile products are just one category of the safety issues KID works to address through the voluntary standard process. Add in laundry packets, toys, furniture, and hoverboards and you can see the importance of this work. There is a great need for other consumer representatives for these and other committees. If you want to learn more, email Nancy.
Nancy then traveled to St. Louis to speak with product safety professionals taking the Advanced Product Safety Management course within the Center for Supply Chain Management Studies program at Saint Louis University. We discussed the role advocacy plays in product safety and gave the participants some insight into the motivation and goals of consumer advocates. The group participated in a role play exercise to see things from a different perspective. Hopefully it will make progress easier next time an issue arises. Within corporate organizations, the product safety professionals are often advocates for safety themselves.
In other news, our student design teams are getting underway at University of Michigan and Northwestern University. Through KID’s TEST program, these teams examine current hazards in children’s products and design prototypes that eliminate the hazard. The team of seniors at Michigan are looking at a crib design that creates a safe sleep environment and teams of first year students at Northwestern are developing prototypes to address some of the hazard patterns we see with strollers – mainly falls.
Finally, this was the week our great team of student interns started for the fall. You’ll hear more about them and the important role they play at KID in coming weeks. Follow KID on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube to keep up with our activities and find ways to help on our Donate or Volunteer pages. Working together we can keep children safe.