Nancy Cowles, KID’s Executive Director, took part in ICPHSO’s 2022 International Conference. Read about her experience:

I traveled to Brussels this month to participate in the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization’s (ICPHSO) 2022 International Conference in conjunction with the bi-annual International Product Safety Week.

KID has been engaging with other product safety organizations at ICPHSO both here in the US and internationally for many years. ICPHSO is the one organization dedicated to including all stakeholders in product safety, including consumer organizations such as KID as well as companies, testing labs, law firms and regulators.  As part of that, we have also participated in the EU’s International Product Safety Week, held every two years in Brussels.  This was the first time we met in person since the pandemic.

For ICPHSO’s conference, KID led a panel discussion on “Improving the Public Health of Children through Product Design.”  With Dr. Ben Hoffman, soon to be President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Molly Lynyak of ASTM International and Herdís Storgaard of ANEC we had a lively discussion on how to reduce unintentional injuries and deaths, focusing on sleep environments for infants and drowning for toddlers. Deaths in sleep environments are the leading accidental cause of death in infants and drowning is for toddlers.  ANEC is the consumer voice in European standards and ASTM set many standards that are used in the US.  Understanding child development, building layers of protection, and not relying solely on supervision were themes that were discussed.  Most importantly, the panelists urged continued dialogue and joint efforts to reduce injuries and deaths from these and other causes.

Other sessions discussed sustainability and the circular economy – reusing or recycling products; connected products, and updates on standards development.  Interesting, because of Brexit (leaving the European Union), Sarah Smith, the Deputy CEO for Regulation, Office for Product Safety & Standards, (OPSS) in the United Kingdom, spoke of starting from scratch with standards for the UK.

After the ICPHSO conference, the EU started their International Product Safety Week sessions, touching on online marketplaces, EU-USA product safety cooperation and more.

While KID’s work takes place here in the US, it is always helpful to learn from other communities to strengthen our own children’s product safety here at home.  For instance, the discussion we started with our session on the interconnectivity of public health and product safety will continue as we seek to increase safety here and elsewhere.

Nancy Cowles

Executive Director