What is the danger from Toys and Children’s Products?
Perhaps the most vulnerable to defective products are children. Thousands of toys and children’s products are recalled every year due to serious injury and death. While manufacturers are required to meet stringent safety standards for toys and children’s products, unfortunately this process is not perfect, and dangerous and defective products still make it into the marketplace.
In 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) received 17 reports of toy-related deaths, among children younger than 15 years old. Balloons and small balls were associated with 47 percent of the reported deaths. Most deaths were from asphyxiation or choking (11 deaths) and drowning (4 deaths).
Additionally, in 2010 the CPSC reported an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Most (45 percent) of the estimated emergency department-treated injuries were classified as lacerations, contusions or abrasions (cuts, bumps and scrapes). Forty-six percent of the estimated injuries were to the head and face area.
Of the 251,700 estimated toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, 72 percent happened to children younger than 15 years of age, and 35 percent happened to children younger than age 5.
Cribs also are a particular safety issue. Babies are at risk from defects in the design of the crib itself, as well as from things like blankets, pillows, mattresses and crib bumper pads.
In 2011 the CPSC put into place new safety regulations following numerous crib recalls due to injuries and deaths, mostly due to entrapment hazards in cribs with drop sides. Millions of drop-side cribs were recalled and manufacturers provided customers with an immobilizer and repair kit for the cribs currently in circulation.
The new guidelines strictly prohibit drop-sides on cribs. Wood slats must also be made of stronger wood to prevent breakage. Crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep them from coming loose or falling off. Mattress supports must also be more durable. And, all cribs will have to undergo more rigorous testing to prove they pose no safety hazards to infants.
The CPSC staff also estimates that between 1992 and 2010 there were nearly 700 deaths involving children 12 months and younger related to pillows and cushions. Nearly half of the infant crib deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported to CPSC each year are suffocations from a baby being placed on top of pillows and thick quilts or because of overcrowding in the baby’s sleeping space.
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