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Report Shows Dangerous Upward Trend in Children’s Product Injuries

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“Kids in Danger (KID)” is a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect children by improving product safety. It was founded in 1998 by the parents of a young boy who was killed when a portable crib collapsed around his neck. The parents later discovered that the crib had actually been recalled, but they never received any notification of the recall and were unaware that the product needed to be replaced.

Since then, the organization has worked to increase parental awareness of potentially dangerous products and to serve as a consumer watchdog. On April 3, 3017, KID released its latest “KID Report Card” detailing children’s product recalls from 2016. The findings from the report indicate that not enough is being done to make sure that children’s products are safe. Recalls are also implemented far too slowly to protect children.

Child Product Injuries

Report Shows Increase in Injuries from Children’s Products

For the report, KID used data from the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC). They found that there was a total of 76 children’s product recalls over the course of the year, with over 66.8 million units of children’s products pulled back from the market. This was the largest number of units recalled since 2004.

Unfortunately, the number of injuries also increased, totaling 394. Seven deaths were also reported. Products were recalled for a number of hazards, with one group—including choking, entrapment, suffocation, or entanglement—topping the list at 37 percent of recalls. Another third of the recalls were implemented because of falls, laceration, and other bodily injury risks. Less common hazards included burns, electrical shock, poisoning, and drowning.

Among those products recalled included sippy cups that grew mold and strollers that lost their wheels. Nursery products led the recalls with 32 percent. This was the first year in a decade, however, that no cribs were recalled.

Companies Are Moving Slower to Correct Defective Products

In addition to the concerning increase in injuries, the KID report also revealed that there was a “vast number of incidents reported prior to recall this year.” In other words, companies dragged their feet waiting for more and more reports of problems before taking meaningful action to correct them.

According to the data, it took an average of 64 reports of “serious design flaws and failures to pull dangerous products from the shelf.” This is a drastic increase from an average of 12 reports in 2015 and only 5 in 2014. The authors of the report noted that this represents a “growing issue with recall speed.”

Overall, 25 percent of children’s product recalls involved injuries prior to the recall—a total of 418. The fact that this is a much higher percentage than in years past reverses the positive trend that began after the passing of the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

The authors note that a lot of the details of these recalls was “missing or incorrect” in the forms filed with the CPSC: “It is hard to fathom how companies and CPSC are measuring recall effectiveness when the basic information they require is not being provided.” They added that recalls are still happening too slowly and too little is being done to get defective products out of homes.

Choua Vue, Director of Policy & Community Engagement at Illinois Action for Children, said in a press release that the KID report findings “show that companies need to issue recall notices much earlier in the process when product safety issues become apparent.”

Parents can check SaferProducts.gov for recalls and injury reports. They can also sign up for safety updates at KidsInDanger.org.