There’s considerably more attention paid to the safety of children’s products today than when most of us were kids. However, the number of fatalities is still alarmingly high.
According to a study by a Chicago-based nonprofit advocacy group, Kids in Danger (KID), 38 children died in 2019 due to injuries suffered from recalled products. The previous year, no deaths were reported. Meanwhile, the number of recalls of children’s products rose by more than 11% in 2019 over 2018.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, the Chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, called the KID study “a sad and scary picture for parents in America.” Schakowsky added that “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,”
Most of last year’s deaths were due to inclined infant sleepers. Approximately 4.7 million of the recalled sleepers were made by Fisher-Price. At least 37 fatalities over the years were linked to two Fisher-Price models of these sleepers.
The danger inherent in these sleepers is that they put babies at an angle that can allow them to slump forward. This can cause them to suffocate. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned against them, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which issued the recalls, has tried (so far unsuccessfully) to get Congress to ban inclined sleepers entirely.
Children’s furniture also continues to be a serious hazard because of the danger that heavy items can tip over on children. Over 500 children died in these accidents from 2000 to 2018. One death was reported last year.
Children’s clothing items accounted for some of the recalls. Elements of clothing like snaps, buttons and strings can be dangerous. Some children’s clothing still doesn’t meet federal standards for flammability.
The KID report notes that manufacturers, as well as the CPSC, can and should make greater use of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram to publicize recalls. It also noted that such social media posts need to make clear the potential dangers of the recalled products for children.
If your child has been harmed by a product, it’s essential to report the problem to the manufacturer and the appropriate authorities. It’s also wise to talk with an attorney about legal recourse. All of these actions can help protect other children and possibly save lives.