Child Product Recalls 101

As parents, we want the best for our children. When it comes to their safety, we like to think we’ve done our homework and learned about the safest products for our children to sleep on, ride, bathe in, play with, and wear. But sometimes even the most trusted companies have products with defects, and things we’ve bought end up being recalled. Here are some reasons why recalls happen, and what you can do to stay informed and protect your child.

Recalls and Injuries
Recalls are made when there is risk of harm from a defect in the item. Companies ask that the product be returned or they have replacement parts they will send to you to correct the defective part. Often, a child may have been severely injured or died before a recall is made. These are some of the ways that children can be harmed by defective products:
• Choking
• Strangulation
• Suffocation
• Falls
• Burns
• Electrical shocks
• Mold exposure

How to Choose Safe Products
The Consumer Product and Safety Commission is working toward mandatory safety standards for infant and toddler products to keep your child safe. Some of these safety standards are now in place for the following items:
• Cribs
• Play yards
• Swings
• Infant sleepers
• Bath seats
• Walkers (not recommended for use by the American Academy of Pediatrics)
• Bedrails
• Carseats that are also infant carriers (car seats and booster seats are regulated by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration and not The Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Many of the products that have been recalled are still available for purchase via e-Bay and secondhand stores, or they may have been gifted by someone who was unaware of the recall. Before purchasing anything, do your homework to find out if the item has been recalled.

Staying Informed
I learned firsthand how important registering a product was when a sleeper I used was recalled due to a mold hazard. The company contacted me directly about the corrective measures to take to prevent the mold from growing.

Here are some other ways you can find out about recalls:

• Register your product by mail or online
Consumer Product and Safety Commission (cpsc.gov)
Safe Kids World Wide (www.safekids.org by Children’s National Medical Center of Washington, D.C.) (monthly product recalls)
American Academy of Pediatrics News recalls (aapnews.org) (monthly recalls)
SaferProducts.gov (website created by CPSC for consumers to report injuries from products that may not have been recalled yet)
• Local news
• Manufacturer’s Facebook or Twitter pages (not always up to date or clear about recall nature)

Once you know, take action! Call the manufacturer or follow instructions on the website. A follow-up call may be needed if replacement parts don’t come when promised. Your child’s life might just depend on it.

 

 

Tabitha Jones-McKnight, DO
Dr. Jones-McKnight is a pediatrician in the Ambulatory Care division at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She enjoys educating parents and children about childhood safety and preventive medicine topics. As an osteopathic physician and public health clinician she strives to teach the families she meets about ways to improve their child’s health and well-being. Dr. Jones-McKnight is also interested in ways to improve the quality of care given to the patients she serves. She could not do any of what she does without the support of her loving husband and daughter.

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