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Child Deaths Prompt New Regulations for Window Blinds

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Could the window blinds in your home be posing a serious threat to your child’s safety? Unless they are cordless blinds, the answer is frighteningly, yes, according to a new article from the New York Times.

While in the past several years manufacturers have added safety features and provided parents with cautionary tips on their products, current statistics show that window blinds are still to blame for an average of one death per month due to strangulation by cords.

These grim statistics have motivated the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action. The CPSC has stepped in and challenged the industry ”to devise a way to eliminate the risks from window cords or perhaps face mandatory regulations.” The Times reports that manufacturers have stepped up in reponse and are now working with a task force of regulators and consumer advocates, promising a fix by the fall.

While there is hope in this new convergence, unfortunately the manufacturers and consumer advocates have failed, thus far, to agree of what ‘safe’ really means. While blind manufacturers have offered several fixes to reduce risk, the task force stands firm that these efforts are not enough and the goal should not be to decrease risk but to eliminate it all together.

“It was my understanding that we were eliminating the hazard,” said Carol Pollack-Nelson, a safety consultant and member of the task force. “Now they are talking about reducing the hazard. We don’t want reduced strangulation. We want no chance of it.”

According to the Times, Ralph J. Vasami, executive director of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, said it was unrealistic to expect the industry to eliminate every possible hazard. “Window blinds are not children’s products, he said, nor are they defective.” He goes on to imply that it’s a parent’s responsibility to take precaution around such products in order to keep their children safe and urges parents of young children to install cordless shades if they have concerns.

 While the task force suggests ceasing the production of any blinds except cordless is an obvious solution to solving the problem entirely, manufacturers point out that cordless styles are more difficult to produce than corded blinds and can cost twice as much to make.

While Vasami predicts the number of deaths “will inevitably decline as older products are replaced by those with more safety features,” parents who have tragically lost a child to cord strangulation are taking a more assertive approach. One couple recently founded the Parents for Window Blind Safety, while all agree that anything that can be done to prevent another family from enduring the pain they have gone through is worth whatever it takes.

Share your thoughts on this issue. Do you think manufacturers are correct in their assertion that parents are ultimately responsible for keeping their children safe, regardless of the overall safety of a product— or do you side with the task force and believe it’s a manufacturer’s job to provide completely hazard-free products, no matter the cost?

Be sure to keep your family safe and find information on the very latest product recalls with our Recall Finder on Parents.com.

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Cucumber Recall Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination

Monday, April 25th, 2011

cucumbers1Attention all cucumber lovers! You may just want to double check your refrigerators. Raleigh-based L&M Companies, Inc. has issued a recall for the popular vegetable fearing salmonella contamination, reports CNN.

The nationwide recall was announced this past weekend after U.S. Food & Drug Administration inspectors found salmonella on a randomly selected sample of cucumbers in a cooler at Four Seasons Produce in Central Florida.

The recalled cartons are marked Nature’s Delight and contain the Lot # PL-RID-002990 on the side of the carton. L&M said it distributed 1,590 bulk cartons of the cucumbers in question between March 30 and April 7 to New York, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Nebraska. Texas and Wyoming.

“Despite the limited direct distribution of the one recalled lot, L&M Companies is issuing a nationwide recall out of an abundance of caution because the company recognizes the possibility that wholesale customers could have redistributed the product in states beyond those listed above,” a company statement said.

Be sure to keep up with the very latest on recalls with our helpful Recall Finder on Parents.com.

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Got a Great Idea? Share It and You Could Win 15K!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Are you a mom with a great kid-inspired idea or product solution that you just know is destined for success? If so, April could be your lucky month! For the second year in a row, Huggies is helping moms like you take ideas from your memorable parenting moments and make them a reality with the Huggies MomInspired™ Grant Program. The theory? Nobody does a better job figuring out what parents need than those who are with their little one daily!

Beginning on the 14th of April, 2011 and spanning the course of 11 weeks (until June 30), you will be able to visit the Huggies MomInspired™ site and apply for a grant to begin the start-up business of your dreams. You never know– your creativity might just land you some serious cash!

If you’re in need of a little inspiration, be sure to check out the  amazingly unique ideas from last year’s grant recipients. From a spill-proof training cup and a device that relieves the stress and pain of child vaccinations, to an online tool that helps moms balance their busy lives and an organized system for on-the-go parents with children on oxygen, each winner received $15,000. See rules and more important info on the grant program here. Good luck!

For similar stories on Parents.com, visit:

Work-at-Home Success
Stay-at-Home Moms & Money
9 Tips for Juggling Work and Motherhood
Your Most Pressing Work Questions Answered
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CPSC Has Not Investigated 17 Deaths Involving Crib Bumpers

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

ss_09016aThe Consumer Product Safety Commission failed to investigate 17 cases of infant deaths when they were fully-aware that crib bumper pads, a popular nursery product, played roles in the fatalities, reports today’s Chicago Tribune.

According to the Tribune’s breaking news report, the CPSC is currently deciding whether bumpers pose suffocation risks, but have disturbingly avoided investigating all of deaths they have on record involving the padded crib liners. Medical examiners and coroners have confirmed that bumper pads were indeed involved in the aforementioned 17 deaths by suffocation the agency has on file.

The CPSC claims these deaths cannot be entirely attributed to bumpers because of other items that may have been in the child’s crib at the time of death. According to the Tribune, Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said officials are examining if there is a scientific link between bumper pads and suffocations, or if factors such as blankets, pillows or medical issues played a primary role in the babies’ deaths.

 One might argue the defensiveness of an agency, who claims it’s mission is to protect consumers from hazardous products, seems strangely lacksidaisical regarding this matter, despite urging from the  American Academy of Pediatrics and other parental safety groups to take a firmer stance. 

“If the baby was found with the face smushed up against the bumper pad, then I don’t understand the relevance of the pillow or the blanket,” said Dr. Rachel Moon, a pediatrician at Children’s National Medical Center and researcher for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

While identifying bumpers as the sole cause of death in these instances may be difficult, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? Dr. Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, seems to think so. He feels, “federal regulators don’t need to base safety considerations on ’cause and effect,’ a high bar to meet scientifically, when there is a strong association between bumper pads and suffocations.”

He concludes, “It’s a potential hazard, so don’t have it in the child’s environment. I can’t think of any reason to have them.”

Do you think it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid bumpers entirely or do you feel the popular products cannot be fully blamed in these cases and a deeper investigation is warranted? Tell us where you stand.

Be sure to keep up with the very latest on recalls with our helpful Recall Finder on Parents.com.

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Your Morning Dose of Cuteness!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

These siblings sure do speak the same ‘language’!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY&feature=player_embedded#at=61

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New Study: Working Parents Too Stressed to Have Sex

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

ss_101704105Do working parents have more stress in their lives than non-working parents? While it’s clear that being a stay-at-home mom or dad is certainly no walk in the park, a new national survey from Care.com implies the answer is ”yes.”

 According to the survey, sixty-two percent of working parents revealed they are too stressed from managing their jobs and families to go to the gym, call a friend, or even have sex with their spouses. 

Another key finding? The majority of those surveyed would be willing to trade in a higher paycheck for less responsibility at work. A quarter of working parents (25%) reported that they would leave their current jobs for less or considerably less money if that would provide more flexibility in their lives.

Results go on to show the issue of childcare as a major stress-inducer. With more than a third (34%) of parents relying on their nannies or babysitters to make their lives run smoothly, 62% find that it is stressful to extremely stressful when a childcare crisis, such as a sick nanny or babysitter or a school closing occurs.  And while more than half (58%) of parents have a childcare back-up plan, only ten percent rely on their employers to provide emergency back-up care as a benefit.

Still, the greatest source of stress for the working parents proved to be the difficult task of managing work-life balance.  More than a third of parents – (35 percent) cited work-life as most stressful while a quarter of parents (24%) felt that finding a trusted care provider for their child is more stressful than keeping their relationship with their spouse happy (18.4%) and excelling at their jobs (11.3%).

“While the White House recently announced the great strides of women in the workplace, this survey shows that the work-life balance for so many working parents remains elusive,” said Wendy Sachs, Editor-in-Chief of Care.com.

 “This survey finds that despite successful careers, our work is impacting our personal lives in unhealthy ways.  Working moms, particularly those with young children, are exhausted and stressed by a workday that for many never ends because we are tethered to technology 24/7,” Sachs said.   “It’s no surprise that moms who are toting buzzing BlackBerries in their bags chock full of work emails, can feel tapped out and not eager for sex. Stress kills the libido.”  

What are your thoughts on this survey? Share your opinions along with the biggest sources of stress in your life and how they relate to being a working or stay-at-home parent (SAHP’s should also be considered a ‘working parents’ in my opinion!). 

Note: The Care.com survey was conducted via an online survey at Care.com among 600 adult parents 18 years of age from February 22 – March 1, 2011.

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CPSC Launches New Product Safety Database

Friday, March 11th, 2011

U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION LOGOFor any parent who’s experienced a faulty product and hasn’t been sure quite who to alert– the answer has arrived! Today marks the launch of SaferProducts.gov, a new  database that allows individuals to directly report any unsafe products to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, reports the CPSC in this press release.

Despite a pushback from maufacturers, the new, easy-to-use site was recently mandated by Congress as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and gives public access to the kind of information that, in great part, was not readily available. Consumers are urged to report any incidents or potential risks they experience with a  product and can also search for complaints about everyday products they own or may be considering buying. The hope is to help consumers make well-informed choices in the most immediate manner to date.

“I believe that an informed consumer is an empowered consumer,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “The ability for parents and consumers to search this database for incidents involving a product they already own or are thinking of purchasing will enable them to make independent decisions aimed at keeping their family safe.”

Although the database is now live and users are able to file reports and view product recalls, the ability to search for complaints from other consumers will not be available until early April. Reason for this being that manufacturers are given 10 days to respond to a complaint before the report is posted.

Will you use this new database to report unsafe products and/or search for reports from others? Let us know!

Be sure to keep up with the very latest on recalls with our helpful Recall Finder on Parents.com.

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B.O.B. Jogging Strollers Recalled

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

11143aThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada and B.O.B. Trailers Inc. have issued a recall for roughly 337,000 B.O.B.® single and double strollers.

According to the CSPC, the drawstring on the stroller can get wrapped around a child’s neck, posing a strangulation hazard. Thus far, there has been one report of an 11-month-old girl who was injured.

All of the recalled strollers have a yellow/orange drawstring at the rear of the canopy and were sold at REI, buy buy Baby and other stores nationwide and on the Web at Babiesrus.com, Target.com and Amazon.com between April 2002 and February 2011 for between $300 and $600. You can see the 11 models that are affected, here.

If you’ve purchased one of the recalled strollers, immediately stop using it and remove the drawstring. For additional information, contact B.O.B. Trailers at (855) 242-2245 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.bobcanopy.com.

Be sure to keep up with the very latest on recalls with our helpful Recall Finder on Parents.com.

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