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Check out this month's recall digest
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2020

 

Contact:
Nancy Cowles, KID,
nancy@kidsindanger.org, 312-218-5593
Dev Gowda, KID,
dev@kidsindanger.org, 630-915-6025

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KID Identifies 38 Reported Child Deaths in Annual Recall Report

(CHICAGO) Today, Kids In Danger (KID) released Seeking Safety: 2019 Children’s Product Recalls on the children’s products recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to the report, 2019 saw the largest number of children’s deaths reported prior to recall in the 19 years KID has been analyzing recall data, with 38 deaths associated with the recalled children’s products.

Thirty-seven of the deaths reported from 2019 recalls were due to infant inclined sleepers, specifically the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play and Kids II rocking sleeper. This number is troubling as many infant inclined sleepers still remain on the market. A recent Consumer Reports study found that the number of infant deaths from inclined sleepers is much higher than reported at the time of the recalls. Since the start of 2020, five more infant inclined sleepers have been recalled. Policymakers must ban and recall all infant inclined sleepers since studies have shown that inclined sleepers are not safe for infant sleep.

“It is heartbreaking to note that one product class that wasn’t required to meet federal standards led to so many deaths,” stated Nancy Cowles, KID Executive Director. “And those deaths will continue as both recalled and not recalled infant inclined sleepers remain in homes.

“Today’s report from Kids In Danger (KID) paints a sad and scary picture for parents in America,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9). “More than anything, it underscores how the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is woefully under-resourced, and badly in need of reform. As our nation grapples with COVID-19 and spends more and more time in their homes, we should be able to count on federal agencies to help protect our children from risks associated with products we use every day in our homes. It’s not all bad news, though – under Chairman Bob Adler, we have seen a dramatic increase in recalls at CPSC so far in 2020. I hope this continues, especially in light of the situation we find ourselves in.”

“No parent should experience the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “It is important to remember that products intended for use by infants and children can still be hazardous. I urge parents to use resources available to them such as Kids In Danger and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure they are not inadvertently using recalled products.”

Additional findings of the report include:

  • Recalls of unstable furniture spiked. In 2018, no furniture recalls were reported for a tip-over hazard. In 2019, six unstable furniture items were recalled, and one of those items was associated with the death of a child. A child is sent to the emergency department every 37 minutes due to a tip-over hazard, and one child dies every 11 days
  • CPSC social media usage remains low. In 2019, despite the media attention CPSC’s social media accounts received for their creative approach to safety information, the CPSC posted only about half (52%) of recalls on Facebook, 59% on Twitter, and a mere 5% on Instagram
  • The product with the highest number of units recalled was Contigo’s Kids Cleanable Water Bottle. This product had 5.7 million units recalled after it was found that the mouthpiece could detach and cause a choking hazard. The company offered replacement lids to customers who had purchased the water bottles, but in February 2020, the replacement lids were also recalled for a choking hazard.

The Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2019, which passed the U.S. House in a bipartisan vote last year, would ban the entire class of infant inclined sleepers from the market, a move that safety advocates have been pushing for years. A companion bill is currently in the U.S. Senate.

KID urges policymakers to pass the STURDY Act, which would create mandatory safety standards for furniture tip-overs. The STURDY Act passed the U.S. House in a bipartisan vote last year and is currently in the Senate with cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

“STURDY is a necessary step we need to take to save children’s lives,” said Lisa Siefert of Shane’s Foundation and Parents Against Tip-overs. “Parents should not have to wonder about the safety of the dressers they purchase to put into their children’s rooms. Children should not be dying in their own bedroom under their dressers.”

While CPSC social media garnered plenty of media coverage (NY Times) it seems that the agency is using its platforms less to convey information about recalls to consumers. This is concerning, as social media has the ability to be a powerful platform for information sharing, and the CPSC is missing an opportunity to reach parents and caregivers who are active on social media. KID urges CPSC to post all recalls on social media.

“The low rates of the CPSC posting about recalls on social media is extremely troubling. If parents and caregivers are unable to learn about recalls, recalled products will still be found in homes and child care facilities,” said Abe Scarr of Illinois PIRG. “Posting on social media is an easy way for the CPSC to get recall information to consumers.”

“This report clearly indicates the continued need to educate parents, providers, and the public about children’s product safety. Kids In Danger’s findings show that companies and the CPSC need to issue recall notices earlier in the process—particularly when it comes to safe sleep products,” said Maria Whelan, President & CEO of Illinois Action for Children. “We are proud to work with our friends at Kids In Danger to help them lead the state’s efforts on these critical issues for children where they live and in child care programs across throughout Illinois.”

KID calls on the CPSC to do more to hold manufacturers accountable for timely and effective recalls. KID recommends that parents check SaferProducts.gov for recalls and injury reports and sign up for safety updates at KidsInDanger.org. In addition, parents should report problems with children’s products to the manufacturer and to CPSC at SaferProducts.gov.

Read the full report here.

Kids In Danger (KID) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by fighting for product safety.

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