Archive for the ‘ Safety ’ Category

The Biggest Toy, Clothing, and Gear Recalls of 2014

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Millions of products were recalled this year, so it is important to stay on top of what your family owns. Learn about the biggest recalls of 2014 that directly affect babies and children. This year, car seats made up nearly half of our top 10 list, which also includes mass-market items such as a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy and a popular Walmart doll.  If you have any one of these products, be sure to click on the link provided and follow the guidelines for return or repair. Sign up for our recall newsletter so you are alerted when something is recalled that could affect your family.

Combi10. Combi Child Restraints

Date: January 3, 2014

Company/Brand: Combi USA, Inc.

The danger: The harness webbing fails to meet minimum breaking strength requirements. In the event of a crash, a child may not be remain adequately secured, increasing the risk of injury.

Sold at: Nationwide

H&M leggings9. H&M Girls’ Leggings

Date: May 15, 2014

Company/Brand: H&M Hennes & Mauritz L.P.

The danger: A metal part on the belt can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. There has been one report of a choking incident in the United Kingdom, but no reports of consumer incidents or injuries related to the use of these products in the U.S.

Sold at: H&M stores nationwide and online at from August 2012 to April 2014 for between $3 and $15.

Vera Bradley Rattle8. Vera Bradley Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny Toys 

Date: March 19, 2014

Company/Brand: Vera Bradley Designs Inc.

The danger: The pom-pom tail can detach from the body of the bear rattle and the bunny, posing a choking hazard to young children. Vera Bradley has received two reports that the pom-pom tail detached from the product. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Nationwide from September 2012 to January 2014.

Walmart Doll recall7. My Sweet Love/My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care Baby Doll

Date: March 25, 2014

Company/Brand: Tak Ngai Electronic Toys Co., LTD

The danger: The circuit board in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer. Walmart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

Sold at: Walmart stores nationwide from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.

Brita Water Bottles6. Brita Children’s Water Bottle 

Date: August 19, 2014

Company/Brand: BRITA LP of Oakland, Calif.

The danger: The lid can break into pieces with sharp points, posing a laceration hazard. There have been 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Alaska Housewares, Associated Food Stores, Bartell Drug, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Quidsi, Royal Ahold, Shopko, Target, US Navy Exchange, Walmart Stores, and online at, and Hello Kitty bottles were sold from February 2014 through July 2014. Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob Square Pants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bottles were sold from June 2013 through July 2014. The bottles sold for about $13 to $19.

Evenflo booster seat5. Evenflo Child Seat Buckles 

Date: April 4, 2014

Company/Brand: Evenflo Company

The danger: The buckle may become stuck in a latched position, making it difficult to remove a child from the seat. This could prove critical to a child’s safety in the case of an emergency. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Nationwide.

Graco Snug Ride recall4. Graco Rear-Facing Child Restraints

Date: June 30, 2014

Company/Brand: Graco Children’s Products

The danger: The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required.

Sold at: Nationwide.

Hello Kitty Whistle3. Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Whistles 

Date: November 10, 2014

Company/Brand: McDonald’s Corp., of Oakbrook, Ill.

The danger: Components inside of the whistle can detach, posing choking and aspiration hazards to young children. McDonald’s has received two reports of children who coughed out pieces of the whistle that they had sucked into their mouths, including one child who received medical attention.

Sold at: McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from October 2014 through the first week of November 2014 with Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals.

Graco logo2. Graco Toddler and Booster Child Restraints

Date: February 10, 2014

Company/Brand: Graco Children’s Products 

The danger: There has been difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required. There have been no injuries reported.

Sold at: Nationwide.

Graco stroller1. Graco Strollers 

Date: November 20, 2014

Company/Brand: Graco Children’s Products

The danger: The folding hinge on the sides of the stroller can pinch a child’s finger, posing a laceration or amputation hazard. Graco has received 11 reports of finger injuries including six reports of fingertip amputation, four reports of partial-fingertip amputation and one finger laceration.

Sold at: Target, Toys R Us, Walmart and other retail stores nationwide and online at, and other online retailers for about $40-70 for the stroller and about $140-170 for the Travel System

Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do

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Study: Laundry Detergent Pods Pose ‘Serious Poisoning Risk’

Monday, November 10th, 2014

laundry detergent podsIf you use laundry detergent pods, you’ve probably noticed how the brightly colored and shiny packages resemble a fun candy or juice rather than a potentially dangerous cleaning product.

This similarity has presented a “serious poisoning risk” to thousands of children around the country, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics.

Using information from the National Poison Data System, researchers found that more than 17,000 children under the age of 6 were exposed to the pods, mostly through ingestion, between 2012 and 2013. (That adds up to about one child every hour,  Dr. Marcel J. Casavant, a study author and the medical director of the poison center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told The New York Times!) Kids younger 3 years old made up more than 70 percent of that total, and more than 750 children had to be hospitalized due to their exposure.

The pods have been on the market since 2012 and their sales numbers have skyrocketed due to their toss-and-go convenience, The Wall Street Journal reports. But some experts are concerned that the pods are more toxic than regular detergent due to their highly concentrated formula, the WSJ reports:

Doctors told the Journal last year that the concentrated nature of the product heightened the risks to children who come into contact with them. Plus, they are encased in a water-soluble film and tend to burst when bitten into, shooting their contents down children’s throats. The doctors were also concerned that the formulation of the products could make them more dangerous. Some have pointed to a higher amount of surfactants in the laundry capsules relative to regular detergent as a possible cause. Surfactants are compounds like soap that help oil and dirt dissolve in water.

Children have sampled regular laundry detergent over the years without much incident, since they usually were turned off by the taste before they could ingest enough to cause problems, poison-control experts have said.

While some detergent manufacturers have made efforts to make their packaging more child-resistant, Dr. Michael Gray of the Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center told Reuters that the best thing for parents of young children to do is use traditional laundry detergent.

Laundry detergent pods are just one of many surprising safety hazards that can be found in your home. Take the time to review our list of 10 other hidden home dangers here.

It Worked For Me: Safety Solutions
It Worked For Me: Safety Solutions
It Worked For Me: Safety Solutions

Photo of laundry detergent pods courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Got Kids With Food Allergies? Look for Teal Pumpkins This Halloween

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Teal Pumpkin ProjectTeal is the new black (or, actually, orange) when it comes trick-or-treating this season.

As the official color of food allergy awareness, the Teal Pumpkin Project was started to let moms and dads know that if they see a teal pumpkin on someone’s doorstep while trick-or-treating that the house will give out small toys instead of candy to kids with food allergies.

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) picked up on the campaign this year after an allergy group in Tennessee came up with the idea last Halloween season, ABC News reports.

Instead of candy, FARE recommends giving out small items like mini slinkies, spider rings, Halloween-themed erasers or vampire fangs as fun, safe alternatives to kids with food allergies.

“We just want people to know that we’re not asking people to stop giving out candy,” one mom, Tyffani Tucker, told ABC. “We are asking them to give kids with food allergies another option so they have something they can look forward to on Halloween too.”
Teal Pumpkin2000

And if you don’t have a pumpkin at your house but want to support the cause and give out small toys along with your typical candy selection, you can download and print off a picture of a teal pumpkin to hang in a window or on a door here.

Still want your little one to have a special treat on Halloween? Take a look at the best snacks for kids with food allergies.

How to Make A Kooky Pumpkin Caterpillar
How to Make A Kooky Pumpkin Caterpillar
How to Make A Kooky Pumpkin Caterpillar

Photos courtesy of FARE

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Good News for Early Childhood Care!

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 Passes in the HouseA bill that will help to make early childhood care safer and more affordable for low-income families passed in the U.S. House on Monday, Politico reports.

The bill, known as the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (CCDBG) will require certification to guarantee that health and safety standards are being followed and includes policies like:

  • improved background checks for care providers
  • training for care providers in first-aid and CPR
  • using safe sleeping practices to prevent sudden infant death syndrome
  • training care providers on working with children with disabilities

While these are practices we would hope that a daycare center is already enacting, this law will require state certification and annual inspections, among other qualifications. The CCDBG was originally created 24 years ago and has only been updated once since then, in 1996, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Re-introduced to Congress in 2013, it was passed by both Republican and Democrat supporters in the Senate in March in a 96-2 vote. An amended version of this bill passed on Monday in the House and next up, the Senate will vote again. If it passes it will go on to President Obama for his approval, according to ChildCare Aware.

This bill also seeks to make this care more affordable. The Children’s Defense Fund reports that the annual price tag on early childhood care for young children and infants costs more than attending in-state public college in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

“Whether going to work or school, a lot of parents have to decide who will care for their children and worry if they’ve made the right decision,” House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will strengthen this important program to give working moms and dads greater access to quality, affordable child care.”

Are you thinking about putting your child in daycare? Make sure to ask these questions before you commit.

Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Day Care Center
Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Day Care Center
Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Day Care Center

Photo of three children courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Accidental Poisoning of Children: These Drugs Are Common Culprits…

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Small Number of Prescription Drugs Responsible for Accidental Overdose Among ChildrenHere’s yet another reason why babyproofing your home is SO important: Nearly 9,500 children under the age of 6 are hospitalized annually for accidentally overdosing on medication they found, a new study in the journal Pediatrics reports. Yikes!

“Many of these drugs are commonly used, and they’re also toxic at low doses,” Dr. Shan Yin, medical director of the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital told HealthDay.

The research revealed that a small array of prescription drugs is typically behind these hospitalizations. The following medications were some of the ones most frequently found to be related to accidental poisonings among children:

  • Narcotic painkillers, like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin
  • Sedatives called benzodiazepines, like Ativan, Valium, and Xanax
  • Drugs with the active ingredient, clonidine, like Catapres, Kapvay, and Nexiclon
Awareness of the dangers of these drugs specifically is paramount in preventing ingestion by young children, and focusing in on safety awareness for these could have a large and positive public health impact, the study states. Some of the other drugs on this list are often found in medications used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes, which typically affect older adults (like grandparents), so it’s key that any home a young child goes into has the proper safety precautions in place.
If you think your child may have unintentionally ingested medication, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling Poison Control at (800) 222-1222, even if she isn’t showing any symptoms (many drugs can have delayed effects). If she’s unconscious, having trouble breathing, having seizures, or experiencing extreme sleepiness, call 911 immediately.

The Complete Guide to Babyproofing
The Complete Guide to Babyproofing
The Complete Guide to Babyproofing

Photo of girl looking at pills courtesy of Shutterstock.

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