Just this week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), announced a voluntary recall of close to 45,000 Kariño Baby Pacifiers distributed by Antonio Flores.
The Commission determined that the pacifier fails to meet federal safety standards and could pose a choking hazard.
Why are products that are sold to children not tested before they’re put on the market? And are there any products that are safe to buy these days? What’s a parent to do?
USA Today recently wrote about how the government is trying to ensure product safety and let parents know what products are okay to buy.
CPSC chair Inez Tenenbaum says the agency is working to “clean up the marketplace” and renew parents’ confidence in baby products. The agency has already established new federal standards for baby walkers and bath seats, and is formulating crib standards. They will soon set standards for high chairs, booster seats, gates, play yards, stationary activity centers, bassinets and cradles. Um, why didn’t anyone think of this until now? Well, they did…
In 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which was intended to limit recalls and ensure safety for cribs and other baby gear. But, clearly, something isn’t working because it seems that every day we hear of another baby product that is being recalled.
Last month, the CSPS voted to ban drop-side cribs after they were implicated in a number of infant injuries and death. But many parents are now wondering what to do with their drop-side cribs. Are they safe to use?
Here’s your answer: If you have a drop-side crib that has been recalled, stop using it and contact the manufacturer. If your drop-side crib hasn’t been recalled, it is safe as long as you stop lowering and raising the sides. And most importantly, don’t buy second-hand cribs.
The good news is that once the new rules for cribs and other baby products are in place, baby gear will have to be independently tested to make sure they meet the new standards. Again, seems like a no-brainer, right?
But banning dangerous cribs or recalling products doesn’t necessarily eradicate the problem. According to Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, fewer than 5% of consumers responded ot the 2007 recall of 1 million Simplicity cribs.
Many families use secondhand cribs which are purchased online or at garage sales. Those cribs may have been recalled and may not have all of their original hardware.
Now that so much manufacturing is done outside the USA, Tenenbaum says her agency is investigating foreign companies as well.
Tenenbaum’s advice to parents? Be informed and judicious about your purchases. ”If a child’s necklace is $5, you have to wonder what is in that necklace,” she says. “We hope that all parents will say to themselves, ‘Should I really buy this?’ ” In other words, buy fewer things of better quality.
Are you concerned about all of the recent recalls of baby products?
Photo: flickr/Chris Moseley