The organization Kids in Danger has released a report discussing trends in children’s product recalls from last year. The agency has been doing this for the past ten years or so, and parents and consumers should check out the information in order to inform themselves about what types of dangerous products were recalled from shelves. The information can also help you understand how the current safety climate is shaped by the past.
First, let’s deal with some of the good news. 97 children’s items were recalled in 2012, marking the first time since 2004 that the number of such products was below 100. What’s also reassuring to hear is the fact that these recalled products make up less than 30% of the overall number of recalled items. The organization believes that testing and heightened safety benchmarks could have contributed to these numbers.
But even though the number of recalls announced was lower than it has been in years, incidents stemming from those products are actually on the incline. They rose by 49% to 2,525, with injuries increasing by a disappointing 42% to 232. But nowhere is the contrast more stark than in the number of fatalities. Nine people died last year due to children’s products; eight were children and one was an adult, an increase in fatalities of 200%.
So just what types of products appear to be the most susceptible to recalls? Unfortunately, those items meant for the youngest kids, nursery products, posted the largest percentage of recalled units. 31% of the kids’ items recalled fall into this category, and 23% of those are strollers.
Infant recliners such as the Chill and the Nap Nanny are of particular concern. At issue is the fact that a child can fall over the side, becoming entrapped or injured, a defect which also plagued the Peapod travel bed. Tots in Mind Crib Tents, another sleeping area, was also recalled for an entrapment and strangulation threat. In the case of the Nap Nanny and the Chill, it wasn’t manufacturers but retailers who decided to cease selling the items. A lawsuit has been filed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make a manufacturer’s recall mandatory.
Clothing was also recalled in multiple instances. There were three chief reasons for this: first, the items could have drawstrings that pose a strangulation hazard, or second, they could have buttons and snaps that could fall off and be swallowed. The third reason has to do with the clothing not meeting flammability standards.
It’s also somewhat disconcerting to hear how many incidents sometimes had to be reported before a recall was initiated. The Flexible Flyer Swing Set leads the pack with a whopping 1,232 reports prior to the recall, but other items also had dozens if not hundreds of reports made before a recall was issued.
Parents can sign up for a recall service from the CPSC and the NHTSA, and they should also report an incident at once if something ever happens to them or their children.